DEL NORTE COUNTY,
C A L_ I F C:) R N' I A ,
BY A. J. liLEDSOE.
HpuKH.i>t TiMBi ymw— Wyma* t Co., l^miMKKtt.
San Francisco Public Library
Not to be taken from the Library
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DEL NORTE COUNTY,
C A L. I F O R NJ I A ,
BUSINESS 1)1 RECTORY
BY A. J. BLEDSOE.
UvumoLvr Tons Ptatn-'Writhfi k CV,, Vvwbmam.
To the Pioneers of California, those hardy ad-
venturers, who bravely met untold hardships, cruel
privations, and sometimes even death itself, that
a new Empire might be founded on the Pacific
Coast, this book is respectfully dedicated, by
It was with many raisgiviugs and doubts of success
that I commenced the preparation of this book.
''What! A history of Del Norte!" exclaimed the
large family of the " oldest inhabitant," " why, what is
there in Del Norte to write about? " Of course, these
people were always ready to tell everybody by word of
mouth all about the past history of Del Norte, so that it
was folly to write it up. And as for the resources, indus-
tries, climate and sceuei'y of the county, they passed by
unnoticed. Whether these truthful story-tellers were
color-blind, or whether, like the man who was viewing
a beautiful landscape, and upon being asked what he saw,
answered: " What do I see? Why, trees!" Whether,
like him, the " oldest inhabitants " saw " trees," and
nothing else, I know not; but certainly the "oldest in-
habitants '' saw nothing of the above, and it was a diffi-
cult task to gather reliable data for this work.
In my search for information I found the Know-Noth-
ings in a very email minority, while the Know-Everj--
things were in such a large majorit}'^ that it was almost
impossible to arrive at the facts in some instances.
However, no pains have been spared to procure the best
and most reliable information possible, and I cheerfully
acknowledge my obligations to Benj. West, Peter Peveler,
Peter Darby, Asa Thompson, W. H. Woodbury, J. K.
Johnson, M. G. Tucker, J. L. Lake, F. Knox, D. Haight
and W. A. Hamilton.
If this book shall be the means of awakening the citi-
zens of Del Norte to a knowledge of the inexhaustible
wealth which surrounds them on every side, waiting for
the mighty arm of capital to bring it to light; if it shall
direct the attention of capitalists in a single instance to
the advantages offered for investment in Del JSTorte, then
I will feel that my task has not been in vain, and that I
have received an adequate compensation.
Crescent City, Jan. 1st, 1881.
Del Norte County,
DEL NORTE-ITS SETTLEMENT BY THE WHITES-EARLY SCENES
AND EARLY PIONEERS-HAPPY OAMP-GRESCENT
city-smith's RIVER VALLEY-PROM
THE YEAR 1851 TO 1855.
Del Norte, signifying "tho north," is situated in the
north-west corner of California, and is bounded on the
east by Siskiyou county, on the west by the Pacific, on
the north by Curiy and Josephine counties, Oregon, and
on the south by Humboldt and Siskiyou counties, Cali-
fornia; and although far removed from our metropolis,
and lying in a remote part of the State, not easily acces-
sible from the outside world, yet it was one of the first
counties in the State to be settled by the whites.
In the spring of 1851 a party, consisting of Capt. S. E.
Tompkins, Eobt. L. Williams, Capt. McDermott, Charles
Moore, Thos. J. Eoach, Charles Wilson, Charles Southard,
the Swain brothers, Taggart, Geo. Wood, W. T.
Stevens, Wm. Eumley, W. A. J. Moore, Jerry Lane, John
Cox, S S. Whipple, J. W. Burke, James Buck, and several
others started from Trinidad, worked their way up the
HISTORY OJ? DEL NORTE.
Klamath river, camping on every bar which showed the
color of the gold they were seeking, and continnally com-
pelled to keep guard against the prowling and treacherous
Indians. Nor was the settlement of the county effected
without loss of life. For while the party were camped,
some on Wingate's Bar and some on Wood-'s Bar, ^^the
two bars near each other,^) about eight miles below the
now town of Happy Camp, three j^oung men, named re-
spectively Barney Ray, Moore, jmd Penny, concluded to
go up the river on a prospecting tour. They went, and
were foully murdered by the Indians, who had all along
made many professions of friendship, and had in fact en-
deavored to induce the party to move further up the
river, sajang that at a distance of less than "one half a
sleep" there were good camping grounds and gold dig-
Immediately after the maesaere, which occurred a few
days after the young men had arrived at their new loca-
tion, several men from Wood's Ear traveled up the river
to a point directly opposite the phice where the young-
men had pitched their tent. They could sec the tent
still standiftg, but being unable to see or hear anything of
the occupants, and seeing numbers of Indians skulking
about the premises, .they surmised that some misfortur.e
had befallen their comrades. Actuated by this belief, they
returned to camp and organized a party of volunteers to
ascertain the fate of their friends. Arriving at the scene
of the massacre, they found that their fears were but too
well founded. The body of one ot the young men, Barney
Ray, was buried on the spot, and another, Penney, mor-
tally wounded, was conveyed down the river on a litter
to Wingate's Bar, where he died a short time after. The
body of the other, Moore, could not be found at the time,
but several weeks afterwards the remains of a dead body,
supposed to have been his, was found in the river below,
so much decayed as not to be recognizable. But the per
petratoi'8 of the deed did not go unpunished. A portion
, of the party, eager to avenge the death of their comrades,,
pursued the Indians, and following their trail, which led
up the river, discovered the Indian village, consisting of a
large number of huts, and indicating the home of a large
band of savages. Satisfied with their discovery, they re-
turned to camp, and the next morning at break of day
made an attack on the Indians. It is needless to say that
bows and arrows were no match for the guns of the
whites, and that the savages, without exception, were
given a free passage and quick dispatch to the Happy
Hunting Grounds. It is believed that every one of the
murderers met the fate they deserved, and that not one of
Some two or throe weeks alter this tragedy the pariy
of pioneers removed from Wingatc's Ear to the place
afterwards called Happy Camp. And thus, ushered in by
a bloody traged}-, the first sotrlement in Klamath ^now
Del iSorte^ county was made. For although the county
had been visited by prospectors and adventurers previous
to that time, it is undisputed that the Happy Campsettle-
mcnt was made over a 3'ear before Orescent Cit}' was lo-
Happy Camp! A name suggestive of cool shades of
forest trees, sparkling streams from mountain sides: it
l)ring8 with it a breath of the free, bracing air from m in-
tain snows which fanned the cheel<s of the hardy pioTieers
who dared to molest the Indian in his choicest hunting
grounds; it suggests a land teeming with game and fruit,
and all other goodly things bestowed by nature— a land
in which the foot-sore and weary Argonaut might find
rc-st :it last, and end his days in peace and happiness.
But however pleasant and suggestive of peace the name
may be, it is certain that the pioneers of Happy Camp met
with as many difficulties as others of their class. Forced
to keep a wary eye upon the Indians, compelled to pre
10 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
pare for the severe winter in store for them, theirs was no
easy lot; nevertheless, they were one and allimbued with
the energy and perseverance so characteristic of the early
pioneers of California, and they were all disposed to make
light of their hardships. Indeed, the place owes its name
to the fact of a little celebration by the "boys" in honor
of the place in which they had established their future
homes. It appears that on a certain evening the whole
party were assembled together and having a "high old
time.'^ The black bottle from which they refreshed the
inner man was passing freely from hand to hand. And
through the exhilerating effects of its contents the com-
pany were beginning to feel in accord with the sjDirit of
the occasion, and disposed to cast dull care avray and en-
joy themselves while yet they might. Presently someone
proposed that the place should have a name, when one of
them, who perhaps was jiarticularly satisfied with their
location, suggested that it be named "llappj' Camp."
Immediately three hearty cheers were given for Hap^jy
Camp, the bottle was passed again, and thus the new
mining town received its christening.
A short time after the settlement of Happy Camp, a
settlemeiit was made at the mouth of the Klamath river,
a stream emptyijig into the ocean some twenty miles
south of Crescent Cit3\ The Klamath was visited in 1850
by a schooner on a voyage of exploration, which anchored
off the mouth of the river and sent a small boat with a
crew of fifteen or twenty to make an attempt to cross the
bar. The bar being rough at the time, the boat v.'as
swamped, and all the crew were drowned with the excep-
tion of one man, who was rescued by the Indians. After-
wards, in the year 1851, another schooner arrived and a
settlement was formed. It was supposed that the Klam-
ath river was rich in gold, and the new town soon became
the headquarters of explorers, prospectors, and others.
It was named Klamath City, and it had a rapid growth.
KLAMATH CITY. • 11
The frames of houses, ready to be put together on arrival,
were shipped by sail vessels from San Francisco, and it is
said that one iron house was imported and erected in the
town. For what purpose it was intended or used is not
known. As the Indians were living there in great num-
bers, it is sujjposed that the owner intended' to guard
against their attacks by erecting a castle which would be
proof against shot and fire.
As before stated, Klamath City had a rapid growth, and
soon became a j)lace of considerable importance. But its
growth was not more rapid than its decline, and it had
but a brief existence. Prosijcctors at the mouth of the
river did not meet with the success they had anticipated,
and they soon began to seek other mining localities. Ex-
peditions were fitted out to explore the upper Klamath,
which, with the exception of that part near its mouth,
was as great a mystery as the headwaters of the Nile.
In 1852 the iron house was re-shipped to San Francisco,
and a short time afterwards Klamath City belonged to
the list of deserted mining towns.
The California Legislature of 1851-2 provided' for the
organization of Klamath county, and ordered an election
to be held on the second Monday in June, 1851. The Act
was approved on May 28, 1851, and R. A. Parker, W. W,
Hawks, Edward Fletcher, Smith Clark and B. W. Dullitt,
of said county, were appointed and constituted a Board of
Commissioners to designate the election precincts for such
election. The officers were duly elected and the county
government took effect immediately after.
Crescent City was the next place in the county to be
settled by the whites, and it seems somewhat strange that
it should not have been jjei'i^ianently settled before the
year 1852. As early as the spring of 1850 a schooner, the
Paragon, arrived in the harbor, and was wrecked on the
beach below the site of the present town; and in the same
12 HISTORY 01'' DEL NORTE.
year, and also in 1851, parties of prospectors visited the
place, but for some reason made no settlement there.
And like many other tov/ns in California, Crescent Cit}^
owes its origin to that insatiable thirst for gold which act-
uated and controlled the movements of all the early immi-
grants to the shores of the Pacific.
In 1849-50 a story was circulated throughout the Paci-
fic Coast and in many parts of the East, rivaling the
legend of Captain Kidd's hidden treasure, and surpassing
m imaginative qualities any fable of the ''Arabian Nights."
There are many versions of the story, but the one the
writer remembers to have heard is as follows:
In the early days of the mining excitement in California,
a miner, more adventurous than any of his fellows, armed
with his trusty rifie and supplied with necessary mining-
implements, crossed the rugged Coast Range and pros- .
pected the gulches and ravines of the foot-hills near the
sea shore. One lucky day he "struck it rich." The rich
earth yielded its yellow treasures in abundance, and the
solitary miner, with no one at first to molest him, erected
a cabin in the wilderness, with the sole thought of amass-
ing a fortune and returning to home and friends in San
And there, in the midst of the "forest primeval," with
the giant trees, "standing like Druids of eld," towering-
above him, the lonely gold-hunter toiled as if for life; and
day after day, for many weary months, added to his store
of wealth, until the time drew near when he could return
to his home with his pockets heavy with hard-earned
gold-dust Bnt the prowling Indian^ ever eager for the
blood of the white man, found his retreat at last, and at-
tacking him with overwhelming numbers, left him sense-
less on the ground, apparently dead. The miner's treas-
ure was too well hidden to be easily found, and failing in
their search for it, the savages set fire to the cabin, burn-
ing it to the ground. After they had left the miner re-
THE LOST CABIN. 13
covered consciousness, but not his reason — the light of his
mind had gone out, and left a flickering flame of discon-
nected thoughts. Bereft of his reason, he wandered out
of the forest and into the home of civilization. How he
succeeded, in finding his way back to his friends in San
[Francisco the legend saith not. But (bo the story goes^
he did succeed in making his way back to his home, and
there, after a short time, died. Before his death his reason
returned to him, and calling his friends around him, he
told them the story of his hidden treasure, describing
minutely the locality of the cabin, and from the account
he gave it was evident that the lost cabin was situated
somewhere on the northern coast of California.
So runs tlxe legend of the lost cabin. And however
improbable the story may appear, it is certain that it was,
in various forms, circulated far and wide, and that many
parties were ut difterent times fitted out to search for the
bonanza. In the spring of 1851 a partj'' under Capt, Mc-
Derraott were searching for the lost cabin in the vicinity
of what is now known as French Hill. Ascending to the
top of the hill, they saw before them a broad expanse of
ocean, with here and there an indentation in the coast
line, and at one spot m particular a deep indentation in
the rocky coast caused them to believe that there was to
be found a bay of considerable extent.
Fully convinced of this fact, the party were not long in
circulating the report, and in September, 1852, another
party, consisting of Capt. Bell, Major J. B. Taylor, Henry
Kennedy, Thomas McGrew, James D. Mace, Eichard
Humphrej^s, Win. Osborn, and a few others started for
the coast in search of the now Crescent City harbor.
They procured the necessary outfit at Althouso creek,
Oregon, and wore vv ell prepared for the then perilous and
fatigueing journey. They were obliged to cut trails for
themselves and nnimals, and met with numerous obstacles
which lequired great perseverance and labor to surmount.
14 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
At last reaching the coast, they passed through a valley
near the foot-hills, and were surprised to find large herds
of elk feeding quietly by the way, seemingly unmindful
of their presence. For this reason the valley was named
Elk valley, which name it bears at the present time.
Arriving at the seashore, the party camped near the
beach, and as winter was approaching, their first thought
was to prepare for it. And as their provisions were be-
coming exhausted, they dispatched a messenger, Eichard
Humphreys, to San Francisco, instructing him to charter
a schooner from that port to Paragon ^now Crt-scent
While in San Francisco, Eichard Humphreys met J. F.
Wendell, and induced him to organize an exjjedition to
Point St. George. The expedition was soon organized and
equipped, and chartering the schooner Pomona, they set
sail and arrived at Paragon Bay sometime during the fall
jSfothing was done, however, during the year 1852
toward laying out the town of Crescent C'ity, and it was
not until the month of February, 1853, that any move was
made in that direction. During the winter of 1852-3 A.
M. Eosborough purchased a land warrant in J. F. Wen-
dell's name for the 320 acres of land on which Crescent
City now stands, and in February, 1853, the land was
surveyed by T. P. Eobinson and divided u^) into town
lots. It has always been supposed that all of the loc^^tors
of Crescent City were equally interested in the purchase
and distribution of these lots; but from the records on file
in the County Clerk's office, it would appear that such
was not the ease. Lots in the new town were transferred
by deed from J. F. Wendell to the following named per-
sons: W. A. Thorp, A. M. Eosborough, G. W. Jordan.
A. K. Ward, E. Humphreys, J. M Peters, J. K. Irving,
J. D. Cook, J. B. Taylor, B. J. Bell, W. S. Watterman, f!
B. Weston, P. C. Brj^ant, M. Martin, M. Smythe, A. <^oyle.
CRESCENT CITY. 15
C. D. Poston, G. A. Guthrie, H. Fellows, T. H. McGrew,
D. C. Lewis, H. Kennedy, J. M. Pugh, J. H. Short, T. S.
Pomeroy, J. H. Boddebv, S. T. Watts and H. !3. Fitch;
and it appears from the deeds that all the above named,
except seven, received their lots for a money considera-
tion, ranging from 3100 to 81,000, and that but six of the
party besides J. F. Wendell were originally interested in
any portion of said land. The transfer to W. A. Thorp
was in consideration of having "rendered services in and
about Point St. George," and the following named re-
ceived their deeds in consideration of having " contributed
equally with J. F. Wendell of their money, labor and ma-
terials in fitting out an expedition to Point St, George:"
F. B. Weston, G. W. Jordan, A. K. Ward, E. Hum-
phreys, J. M. Peters and J. K. Irving. Therefore, as only
Weston, Jordan, Ward, Humphreys, Peters, Irving and
AVendell had invested their means in the enterprise, these
gentlemen should be looked upon as the founders of Cres-
The grant which Wendell had purchased from the State
was, however, afterwards declared to be void, the United
States Government claiming the right to the land, and
those who had invested in town lots were in danger of
losing both their lots and money. An arrangement was
finally effected hy which the Common Council of Crescent
Cit}' purchased the land from the United States, at $2 50
per acre. The Council then issued certificates of title to
all those who had bought town lots from Wendell, and to
those who were originally interested in the location of the
town. When the town was Iceated it was named Crescent
City, because the bay on which it is situated is in the form
of a serai-circle.
In 1853 many ]3eople were constantly arriving at Cres-
cent City, and the place was rapidly growing from a
small collection of tents to a good-sized town. Among
the first arrivals were James Brooking, Alexander Coyle,
18 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
Siimuci Watts, M. V. Jones, John White, Peter Peveler,
Daniel Haight, James Haight, Oliver Charter, Benj. West,
E. G. Haj^es, Eay Wallace, J. K. Johnson, John Malone,
J. G. Wall, Peter Darby, Sam, Crandall, Asa Thomj)son,
Major Bradford, H. Davis, E, L. Magruder, W. H. Hamil-
ton, and others.
The first vessel to arrive after the wreck of the Para-
gon in 1850 was the schooner Pomona, which arrived
sometime in the fall of '52. The next vessel to arrive was
the San Francisco, Capt. (JoodAvin, which anchored in
Crescent City harbor on the 6th of May, 1853, having on
board as passengers Messrs. Gilbert, Steel, Hoover, Cran-
dall, Terry, Farrington, Deitrich, Dickson, West, Myers,
and a man called "Dock." Gilbert 6: Farrington, Avho
established the first store here, had on board 40 or 50
tons of assorted merchandise.
The first mercantile firms who opened business at Cres-
cent City were S. H. Grubler, Gilbert & Farrington, Ham-
ilton ci, Co,, and a short time afterward Gilkey & Co., G.
W. Jordan, John Y. Valentine, Crowell & Fairfield, J, B.
Rosborough, Messer & Co., J. W. Stateler and J. J. Fried-
man & Co. W. A. Hamilton, who established the third
mercantile house here, ari'ived on the schooner Pomona,
in the month of May, a short time after the arrival of the
San Francisco, having with him a large stock of general
merchandise. On board the schooner was a lighter, ca-
pable of carrying 4 or 5 tons, which had been brought
from San Francisco for the express purpose of landing the
schooner's cargo. The goods were loaded on the lighter,
and it being run as far up on the beach as possible, they
were packed through the surf to the shore. The supplies
at Althouse and other places had almost given out, and a
large crowd had assembled on the beach ready to bu_y the
goods as they were landed from the lighter. Before sun-
set on the same day they were landed from the schooner,
$1,500 worth of goods were sold without removing them
smith's river valley. 17
from the beach. This was doing a rushing business on
very short notice.
F. E. Weston, who it has been said was one of the
party to found Crescent City, had no individual interest
in the expedition, but represented E. F. Knox & Co., of
San Francisco, who sent Weston to represent and take
charge of their interests. The}^ bought and shipped in his
charge on the Pomona a small saw-mill, which he immedi-
ately erected near what is now the corner of C and Third
streets. That mill made the lumber of which the first
houses in Crescent City were constructed. A year or two
later they built a larger saw-mill near the corner of Gand
Seventh streets, and in 1856 they added a grist mill. The
first sack of flour ever ground in this county was turned
out of the Crescent City Mills in October, 1856. In 1857
Mr,. Weston left and S. G. Kingsland took his place in
charge of the property and business. In 1860 these mills
were burned down, v\'ith all the surrounding improve-
ments with the exception of the house now occupied by
Judge Hamilton, and a large amount of lumber and grain
was consumed at the same time.
Among the arrivals at Crescent City during the month
of April, 1853, were James Haight, D. Haight, H. Davis,
Domiuee, and one or two others who in the month
of August of the same year made the first settlement in
Smith's liiver Valley, locating on the north side of Eowdy
Creek. They found the country covered with high fern
or brake, ten feet high in places. Plenty of game could
be found throughout the valley, there being large numbers
of elk, deer, bear, wild geese, ducks, pheasants, etc. The
elk, especially, were to be found in large numbers, and
for a long time furnished the settlers with the most deli-
The south side of Rowdy Creek was soon after settled
by II. W. Jones, the Wallace brothers, John Loverton,
HISTORY OF I>EL NORTE.
and others, and both sides were constantly receiving ac-
cessions to their population.
PiUDning through the valley is Smith's River, from
vrhieh the valley received its name. Much speculation
has been given to the subject of how the river first
received its name, and no definite conclusion has ever
been arrived at as to how or when it was named. It is
certain that as far back as the earliest settlement of the
northern country it was known by its present name.
The most generally accepted account of its origin is,
that sometime in 18.38 or 1839 a company of men in the
employ of the Hudson Bay Company traveled down the
coast from the Columbia river, and camping on the banks
of the river which now bears ihe Captain's name, were
murdered by the Indians. At the present time there are
no records, or persons living to substantiate the above ac-
count, and besides it is evident that it has no foundation
in truth. The river undoubtedh' owes its name to the
io-norance of the earlv explorers and traders in regard to
the topography of the northern coast.
In 1842 Fremont camped on the shore of Klamath Lake,
Oregon, and in his account of his second voyage of explo-
ration he remarks that he was forced to take extra pre-
cautions to guard against the Indians, and saj's, -''I was
not unmindful of the fate of Captain Smith and party."
From this it would seem certain that a man named Smith
was murdered by the Indians, and it is equally certain
that his name was given to another river, which empties
into Rogue river, in Oregon.
In the time of Fremont's voyage, and long after, a river
in Oregon, now known as Illinois river, was called Smith's
river; and it was supposed to empty into the ocean some-
where near the mouth of the present Smith's river. It
was natural, therefore, that those who crossed the moun-
tains and traveled down this river to the coast should call
the stream Smithes river, believing, as they did, that the
MURDERED BY INDIANS. 19
two rivers were one and the same. In the course of time,
when the country became better known, the true Smith's
river received the new name of Illinois, while the Del
JSTorte river retained the former name and has kept it ever
The first white child ever born in Del Norte county
was born in Crescent City to the wife of Mr. Frame, on
the 28th day of August, i85o, and was christened "Mary
The town of Crescent City was rapidly improving, the
population of the county was steadily increasing, and bus-
iness houses and dwellings wei'c being erected on every
And about this time the influence of the white settle-
ment was being felt by the Indians; they were being-
pushed to the wall by the march of civilization. In the
spring of 1853 a man called California Jack, accompanied
by several others, started from Crescent City on a pros-
pcctiiig tour, intonding to visit some place near Smith's
river. A short time afterwards an Iiidiar, was seen, in
town cari'ying a revolver with the name, '■ California
.T:iek,' engraved upon it. Surmising that the prospectors
had been niiiidered by the Indians, a party of eitizeris
attacked the Indians on Batteiy Point, near town, killing
the one who had the pistol and sever. J others. A com-
pany was inimc-iiately organized to search for the sup
posed murdered men. The camp of the prospectors on
the banks of Smith's I'iver was easily found, and further
search resulted in the discovery of the bodies of the men,
all bearing marks of violence by the Indians.
After the punishment of the Indians at Battery Point,
'a large number of the survivors removed to a ran.cheria
near the mouth of Smith's river, knoAvn as the Yontoeket
ranch. But the feeling in Crescent City against them was
too intense to subside without a further punishment being
adniinistereti. A company was formed, and procuring a
20 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
guide who had some knowledge of the country, they Avith
difficulty made their way through the forests^and arriving
at a point near the ranch, prepared for the attack on the
Indians. Of the manner in which the attack was made,
no authentic information can now be obtained. It is well
known, however, that the fight ended in a disastrous
defeat to the savages, a large number being killed, while
the whites escaped with little or no loss.
Other murders were committed in the same year by the
Indians, the accounts of which are meager and not thor-
oughly reliable. One account says that in the neighbor-
hood of what is now known as Shannon's creek, a few
miles north of Smith's river, three men who were travel-
ing down the coast were attacked and murdered by the
Indians, their bodies being hidden in a cave in the rocks,
and afterwards found. Other difficulties between the
whites and Indians occurred at intervals, the adventurous
spirit of the whites and the reluctance of the Indians to
give up their lands to them, causing the breach to grow
wider and wider, until it threateiied to involve the county
in a general Indian war
The summer of 1853 ])assed quietly away, with but little
excitement, except an occasional murder by the Indians,
and the patriotic celebration of the Fourth of July, the
first celebration of the day we honor ever held in Crescent
City. During the fall the steamer Columbia made regular
trips from San Francisco to Crescent City, heavily laden
with freight and passengers. A number of sailing vessels
were also making regular trijjs, carrying freight and pas-
It was during the spring and summer of '54 that the
most remarkable improvements were made in Crescent
City. Money was plentiful, wages were high and laborers
in demand, the mines were beginning to attract attention,
and everything indicated that a lively city would be built
up in this remote corner of California.
MINING IN '5-i. 21
The year 1854, esj^ecially, opened most auspiciously for
Crescent Citj'. Nor was the rest of the county behind.
The whole county was becon:iiiig settled with peojDle from
all parts of the Union, and from nearly every part of the
On the 10th of Ju]ie that necessity of all civilized com-
munities, a local newspaper, was established, with Messrs.
B. F. Feehtig and W. B. Freaner as publishers. It was
called the Crescent City Herald, was a live-column paper,
published all at home, and ably edited.
The mail service at that time lacked much of being
what it is to-day. An acconimodation mail was carried
by the steamers, and during the summer was received
rcguhirly once in two weeks. When vrintor came, hoAv-
ever, it was a fortunate cii-cumstance if a mail was received
once a month. Crescent Cit}^ had perhaps better mail
facilities than other parts of the county, and Smitli's
Kiver Yalloy, especially, was fortunate indeed if it re-
ceived a mail once a month.
As before remarked, the town and county were rapidly
improving. Large numbers of people were attracted
hither by the mineral and agricultural resources wliicli
were known to exiet iii the immediate vicinity r)f Crescent
Cit3^ The mining region lying back of the town was
thought to be among the best and richest in the State.
And although the expectations of the miners in regard to
the la.sting qualities of the placer mines were not fully
realized, yet the mines ''panned out" exceediiigl}' well,
and the deposits were sufficiently abundant to cause a
considerable excitement in regard to them. ''J'he miners
on Myrtle creek, twelve miles from town, were doing
exceedingly vvell. The general average was from five to
fifteen dollars per day to the hand, and in the month of
June one man took out, in two hours, four hundred dol-
lars. New diggings were discovered on the South Fork
of Smith's river, and in other parts of the count3^ The
22 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
miners on Smith's river were making from ten to twenty-
five dollars per day to the hand, while laborers vv^ere mak-
ing from one hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars per
month. New diggings were discovered on Indian creek,
near Happy Camp, which proved to be very rich. They
prospecte'l from 81 to S3 to the pan. Laborers on Indian
creek were getting SlOO per month and found. On the
Klamath river miners were meeting with extraordinary
success. jSTew and rich diggings were daily being dis-
covered, and the mines yielded from S20 to 840 per day to
the hand. At Happy Camp, several large ditches were
constructed, thus commencing the extensive system of
ditches and flumes that now furnish water to nearly all
the bars in' the vicinity Gold was also discovered on the
middle fork of Indian creek, a tributary of the Klamath,
and a lively mining camp was soon established there.
Some twenty Itouscs were erected ami about eighty miners
were at work, making from §9 to -315 per day to the hand-
Twelve miles from the aljove name;! diggings, situated
on the Klamath at the mouth o'c Indian creek, ^vel*e the
Happy Camp diggings. At that time the village ( f Happy
Camp consisted of six or eight houses, the placers lying
scattered in the neighborhood. About sixty miiiors Avere
working here, averaging from 85 to SI 2 per day to the
hand. A short distance below Happj^ Camp, on Elk creek,
a stream runniiig from the south iiito the Klamath river,
new diggings were struck, yielding from SIO to 815 per
dsLy to the hand. On the 4th of November new diggings
were discovered on a creek running from the re:lwood
ridge and emptying into Smith's river near the ferry then
owned by White & ililler, now known as Pe tcock's ferry.
The mines were about six miles from Crescent City. Dlrr
paying from three to five cents per pan was foujid in large
quantities, and some claims were worked which panned
out from ten to twenty cents to the pan.
Nor were prospectors for the golden treasure content
GROWTH Of CRESCENT CITY. 23
to confine their operations to the mountains, gulches and
ravines— they even staked off the beach in front of Cres-
cent City into mining claims. But eventually it was
ascertained that the sand was not of sufficient value to
repay the expense of working the same, and the (daims
were abandoned to the winter revels of old Neptune, who
gave his first notice '' to quit " by the loud blast of a " sou-
And the agricultural interests of the county were not
neglected. During the spring and summer of '54 nearly
seventy-five farmers located in various parts of the county,
and raj)idly brought into cultivation much of fertile land.
The first crops raised in the county were raised in Smith's
Elver Valley by liay Wallace aud T. Crook, and were
harvested in the above named year. The seed was mostly
obtained from Oregon, being brought across the mountains
by pack trains. Vegetables in large quantitits were also
raised, and daily and weekly supplies were received at
Crescent City from the surrounding countrj^. In addition
to cultivating the land already cleared, the farmers were
also busily engaged in clearing more land, building houses
and fences, setting out fruit trees, etc.
But however raj)id was the development of the mining
and agricultural resources of the countj', they couLl not
keep pace with the extraordinary growth and improve-
ment of Crescent City, In the spring of '53 there was
bui one house standing on the present site of ('rescent
City, In the spring of '54 ihe town contained nearly
three hundred houses, with a p >pulation of between eight
hundred and a thousand inhabitants. Like the mining-
towns in the good ohl days of '49 and '50, it had sprung
up as if bj' magic, and deni'>nstrated the fact that '' a citj-
may be born in a day."
And in accord with tlie marvelous growth of the town,
was the extraordinary and far-reaching enterpinse of its
citizens. Every day some new project for the improve-
24 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
ment of the place was set on foot and energetically carried
forward to completion. Hotels and business houses were
constantly being opened to the public, the town was rap-
idly encroaching upon the adjacent forests, and buildings
were even erected on the beach; secret societies
and orders were formed, and a fire department was
organized; saloons and billiard halls flourished in close
proximity to the only house of God the place supported;
in fact, it soon became the type of a California mining
town. The streets were filled with people and presented
a busy scene --the miner from the mountains jostled the
farmer from the valley; the merchant and the trader vied
with each other in the use of the cunning arguments of
trade; speculators in town lots talked loudly to new-
comers of the advantages of this, -'the garden spot of
God's green earth, God bless you, sir;'^ young men from
the States, eager to join the great army who were search-
ing for gold, bartered for animals and outfits; pack trains
just in from across the mountains, passed other 'trains
preparing to start on their trip across the Siskiyoiis,
heavily laden with merchandise and mining implements.
Several express companies were doing a rushing busi
ness, including Leland & McCombe's express (^connecting
at San Francisco with Wells, Fargo &. Co. J and Adams &
Co., who also had connections in San Francisco.
Crescent City was becoming the center of a large and
increasing trade, and her merchants soon began to agitate
the question of building a wagon road to Illinois valley,
0, T. Good roads are a prime necessity of civilization,
and realizing trds fact, the people of Crescent City held a
public meeting on the 10th of June, 1854, to devise means
to build the road, having previously' subscribed ^6,000
toward the enterprise. At the meeting referred to, the
preliminary organization for the formation of a Joint-Stock
Company, to build a plank and turnpike road, was com-
pleted, twenty-five citizens comprijiing the company of
INCORPORATION OF CRESCENT CITY. 25
preliminary organization. IJon. S. G. Whipple was
elected President, F. B, Weston, Secretary, and S. H.
(ii'ubler, Treasurer. Tiie corporate name was declared to
be, " The Crescent City and Yreka Plank and Turn]3ike
Comi^any," and a resolution was oifered and passed "That
the President, Secretary and Treasurer are hereby con-
stituted a Board of Directors for this Company;" and the
Directors were emjDowered to employ a competent Engi-
neer to survey the road, and also to employ suitable per-
sons to assist in the looking-out and survey of different
In the meantime, while this question was being agitated
among the citizens, an "Act to Incorporate Crescent City "
passed both houses of the Legislature in April, 1854,
received the signature of the Covernor, and became a law.
'J'his Act defined the limits of Crescent City as follows;
"The boundaries of Crescent City shall be as follows:
Commencing at a point established by T. P. i\obinson,
County Surveyor of Klamath county, east of Elk creek,
running thence south to low water mark, and north twen-
ty-five chains and links; thence west One mile;
thence south to low water mark, and thence following low
water mark to the intersection of the east line."
After the passage of this Act the town began to put on
city airs. A full-fledged Common Council was let loose
upon the public treasury, constable^ were elected, mar
shals were appointed, and a complete organization of the
city government effected
And about the same time, the question of the boundary
line between California and O. I . was permanently settled.
The disputed territory comprised all that mining country
in and about Sailor Diggings and Althouse creek— a coun-
try abounding in precious metals, and the j)os8e8sion of
which would have been a valuable aildition to the mineral
wealth of Del Norte. In June, 1854, .-i surveying party
under T. P. Robinson surveyed the northern boundary of
26, HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
the Stale of California, and decided that the disputed ter-
ritory belonged to O. T., and not California, as was gen-
erally supposed. The decision caused some excitement in
the neighborhood of Sailor Diggings and Althouse creek,
as the miners did not like to be so suddenly transported
from California to Oregon. They had before both voted
in California and O. T., and had refused to pay taxes to
On Thursday, June 22, 1854, occurred one of those
shocking tragedies so common in the eai-ly history of
California. It appears that a young man named James
T. Kelley, in company with another young man named
A. K. Ward, joined a pai'ty for the purpose of serenading
some of the citizens of the place. At the time the fatal
blow was struck Kelley was playing on the violin, and it
is supposed that the bow struck Ward on the arm, when
he f^V&vdJ exclaimed, "Don't draw that on rae!" and
stabbed him (KelleyJ in the region of the heart A doc-
tor was called, but his skill was of no avail. The wounded
man spoke but three words--"] am killed"--and expired in
a few minutes. Immediately after the commission of the
murder. Ward was arrested, and after examination lodged
in jail to await his trial. He afterwards broke jail, but
was captured in Sacramento some months later. He was
tried at Yreka in 1855 and. acquitted. Although the mur-
derer was acquitted of the charge against him, yet the
affray was a striking commentary on the evil infl-uence of
intoxicating drinks, as the evidence adduced at the trial
disclosed the fact that all the parties were in a state of
intoxication at the time of the killing.
Saturday, June 24th, the first Masonic celebration ever
held in Del Korte county was held in honor of the anni-
versary of St. John. The oration was delivered by Dr.
E. Mason. At 2 o'clock a dinner was served at the
Oriental Hotel, at which there was a convivial flow of
good feeling. The regular toasts were:
FIRST MASONiC CELEBRATION. 27
" Our Master — As the sun continues to shed abroad his
light by day, and the moon to illume the night, so may
our Master prove the reflection of both.
Our Senior Wardex— -As the clear, blue sky is to the
sun, and the bright twinkling stars to the moon, so may
the Senior Warden ever be to the Master."
The survey of the route for the Crescent City and Treka
plank and turnpike roa I was completedby T. P. j^obinson
in October, and a subscription book was opened by the
Compau}-. The capital stock was fixed at $85,000, divided
into 850 shares of |]00 each, and before the end of the
year subscriptions to the amount of $18,500 were received.
During the year, in the month of August, the first vessel
built at Crescent Citj" was launched, being named the
liosalie, commanded by E. A. Babcock, and built for S. T.
Crowther, of San Francisco. She was a small schooner,
9 feet deep and measuring 53 tons. She was built of
spruce and hemlock, and was intended for the bay trade
at San Francisco.
Toward the close of the year ISS-i the trade of Crescent
Cit}' had grown to quite respectable proportions The
steamers Major Tompkins. America, Columbia, Crescent
Citj", and Fremont were making regular trips betweer.
San Francisco. Crescent City and the Columbia river. A
number of schooners were also making regular trips.
The inlanu. transportation was confined to pack trains, ol
which there were large numbers engaged in carrying
merchandise from wholesale houses iii Crescent City to
Happy Camp, Althouse. Sailor Diggings and other points
in Southern Oregon.
Below will be found the trade of Crescent City for the
period of seven morxths from March 16th to October '22.
1S54. For a town at that time only nineteen months old,
its harbor at times insecure, its outlets onh' mountain
trails, it is certainlv a wonderful and creditaiile showing,
28 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
indicating on the part of its merchants a degree of busi-
ness enterprise worthy to be imitated at the present time.
The number of arrivals, according to the Custom House
reports, were, steamers, 39; sailing vessels, 9; total, 48,
Amount of freight carried by steamers, 3,385 tons; by
sailing vessels, 540; total, 3,925; or, in round numbers,
4,000 tons of merchandise.
During the same period the number of passengers car-
ried ivom San Francisco to Crescent City, according to the
Purser's reports, was 2,286.
Thus it will be seen that the travel to this part of the
State was very large, and that its many natural advantages
were at that time receiving the attention they deserved.
About the 1st of November a tragedy occurred which
was the direct cause of bringing about difficulties
between the whites and Indians. Mr. A. French, a farmer
living about three miles from Crescent City, went on a
hunt with a party of three others to the South Fork of
Smith's Eiver, camping on the Bald flills, about ten miles
from town. It was agreed that French should return
home on the following Thursday, while the rest of the
party were to- continue their hunt a few days longer.
French left the camp on Thursday morning, the rest of
the party supposing that he had returned to his home.
But when they arrived at Crescent City on Saturday
evening they were met by Mrs. French, inquiring for hei-
husband. He had not returned home, and nothing had
been seen or heard of him.
It was at once suspicioned that the Indians on the South
Fork of Smith's Pdver had murdered the missing man.
The citizens, with their usual promptness in cases of the
kind, appointed a committee to apprehend all the Indians
about town and in the neighborhood. But little informa
tion was gained from them; nevertheless, the suspicion
that French had been murdered became more of a cer-
tainty, and parties were sent out to hunt for the hody.
MURDER OF A. FRENCH, 29
On Mill creek, (a. tributary of Smith's River J was a
rancheria where the Indians of the coast were wont to
resort for the purpose of laying in a supply of acorns for
the winter. At this rancheria a party headed by J. M.
Eosborough examined the Indians thoroughly, and from
the knowledge derived from them it appeared that in the
latter part of October an Indian from Cheteoe (24: miles
up the coast, in Oregon,^) had made a proposal to a Klam-
ath Indian called Black Mow to kill a white man. Black
Mow refused, saying that he lived in peace with the
whites, and had been for years in the habit of ferrying
them across the Klamath. The Cheteoe Indian then
offered him the squaw standing by, which offer proved
irresistible, and Black Mow answered " soon "
xVfter gaining this information, Rosborough and his men
had little diflicultj' in finding the body. They found it
laying under a log and partly covered up, the wild ani-
mals of the forest having meanwhile attacked and
devoured part of it. With the exception of the hat, none
of the clothing w;.8 missing, an<i even a gold ring on his
finger was there still. The remains were buried near the
spot where they were found, and the party returning to
Crescent City, a writ was issued for the apprehension of
the Indians Black Mow, Jim and Narpa, accused of the
murder of A. French. Mr, Kennedy, Lieutenant of the
Company of Klamath Rangers, was deputized to pursue
the guilty parties, commanding a party of seven men,
namely, T. B. Thorp, Israel Deitrich, T. H. McGrew,
Leaks, J. R. Sloan, J. H. Ritchie and J. B. Rosborough.
The Indians were captured at the mouth of the Klamath,
and were taken to Crescent City on the 17th of November.
On the day followiiig the citizens of Crescent City
assembled en masse at the Eldorado Saloon, on Front
street, and organized by calling E. Mason, Ksq., to the
Chair, and appointing S. G. Whipple, Secretary. The
Chairman stated the object of the meeting to be, the trial
80 HISTORY Ob' DEL NORTE.
of the three Indians then in custod;,-, fsmd if the evidence
should warrant a conviction, the jurj^ to award the pun
ishmentj namely. Black Mow. his son Jim, Klamath
Indians, and a Cbetcoe Indian called Narpa, accused of
the murder of A. French.
On motion, the following named gentlemen Wi-re ap-
pointed jurors: D. W. McCoP-ib, J. B. Taylor, J F. Wen-
dell, T. I'.. Thorp, i.'ichard Barnes, Jacob Lance, M. Gr.
Tucker, T. S. Sanford, T. S Fomeroy, John Miller, J. E.
Sloan and Benj. West.
The pi'esiding Judge was Judge Lynch, well known in
the e;»rly days of California, whose decrees were always
final, from which no appeal could be taken. And how-
ever unjust and cruel their mode ot trial may be deemed
at the present tinie, the emly settlers of California were
justified in resorting to such extreme measures. Not oi^ly
is it asserted in the law, but it is, and alwaj^s bas been
instiiictively felt that •• Self-preservation is the first law of
N^ature.' Mankind, in all ages, has recognized the
necessity of disregarding the established rules of the laAv,
vfhenever that la-w, through its own inherent defects, or
because of its non-enforcement by the proper offic^J'S, has
failed to affo'd the jjrotection to lite and property for
which it was intended.
In the early days of Del jSTorte, the Judicial system
then in force allowed of but few sittings of the courts of
justice in this county; therefore, prisoners lodged in jail
awaiting trial were liable to make their escape. The jail
at Crescent City was a wooden building, affording but
slight security against the escape of its inmates. And it
is not surprising that the citizens, rather than run the risk
of losing the chance to punish the murderers as they
deserved, should take the law into their own hands.
The jury in the trial of the murderers of French, after
an absence of one hour, returned a verdict of "guilty,''
JUDGE LYNCH HOLDS COURT. 31
and sentenced the murderers lo be hanged on Monday,Nov.
2-lth, 1854, at 12 o'clock, m.
On motion, J. R. Sloan, Eichard Barnes and Capt. John
Boddeby were appointed a committee to execute the sen-
tence of the jury.
At the appointed time Black Mow, Jim and Narpa were
taken from the jail and hung near Battery Point, a large
number of spectators being present. The ropes were tied
to the limb of a tree, and the other ends being fastened
around the necks of the culprits, the wagon upon which
they were standing was driven from under them, and in
a few seconds the case was transferred to a Higher Trib-
unal, and the souls of three guiltj' Indians sent to account
before the (.ireat Spirit who watches over all.
Before the close of the year the consequences of the
French tragedy began to be experienced. At a meeting
of tbe citizens of Smith's River Valley, held at the house
of Major Bradford, to devise some means for finding out
the nature of some alleged threats made by the Indians in
the vicinity, a committee was apiDointed to make investi-
gations, consisting of Dv. Myers, John Leverton, John
Vaughan and W.. Carman. The committee visited the
Indian rancheria in the vicinity, and from their report it
ajjpears that the circumstances causing a suspicion of a
plot against the whites were as follows: The presence of
llogue Kiver, Chetcoe and Klamath Indians-the removal
of tbeir provisions— the discovery of secret and carefully
concealed paths by which the different tribes comnrani-
cated with each other. I'hese facts were sufiicient to
arouse the fears of the people of the valley, and a careful
watch was kept of the movements of the Indians.
COUNTY GOVERNMENT MATTERS — THE STATE CAPITAL --THE
KLAMATH RESERVATION- BURNING OF THE
AMERICA- -THE COUNTY OF DEL NORTE
i^ROM 1854 TO 1860.
About the 1st of Jamuiry, 1855, the difficulties between
the whites and Indians terminated in a fight on the Lake,
four miles from Crescent Citj'^, in which about thirty
Indians were killed. The two Companies, the Coast and
Klamath Eang^ers, took jointly part in the affair, assisted
by the settlers in'Smith's Kiver Valley. A treaty ot peace
was afterwards made with the Smith's liiver Indiaiis by
the people <d' the valley. In Februaiy an Indian war
broke oat on the upper Klamath, in which several whites
were killed, terry boats cut away, etc. A detachinent of
soldiers were sent from Humboldt H&j to the scene of the
trouble, and by their aid the savages were quelled.
On the 22d of February, 1855, the first celebration of
Washington's birthay in Crescent Cit}^ took place. There
was a parade during the day, but the ball in the evening
at the No. 8 Hotel was the great attraction on this occa-
The express company of Wells, Fargo & Co. established
a branch office in Crescent Citj", appointing as agent J).
W. McCombe. About the sanu- time news was received
A RUN ON THE BANK. 33
by steamer that the bauking houses and express companies
of both Adams & Co., and Wells, Fargo &: Co., had went
down in the great storm of business failures which swept
over the country in 1855. The news caused no unusual
run on the branch office of Wells, Fargo & (Jo, at Crescent
City, but the house of Adams & .Co, was besieged by
excited depositors, eagerly claiming their money. In one
day, between 4 and 10 a. m., the sum of 811,809.16 was
paid out by E. G. Wescott, the agent here. All the de-
mauds against the Crescent City branch of Adams k Co.
were paid, with the exception of $626 due to four individ-
uals whose whereabouts were unknown.
It seems that Klamath county was as badly governed
as any county in the iState. Man}' and loud were the
complaints in regard to the financial condition of the
county, and much attention was called to the fact that
Ivlamulh county, although not quite four years old, was
over $13,000 in debt, without roads, without county build
ings, even without a proper safe for her records.
The Conn ofSessioiis, a Judiciary tribunal, had been en-
■:i'usted"with the management of county affairs in geneial,
ill ail the counties of the ■'•■'tate, except ::fan Francisco
The Court of Sessions of ivlamath county had, so far as
the administration and general supervision of county
auairs was concerned, made a complete failure it; that
particular ii!:!e of business, and involved the county in
debt at a tune wlioii it should have had a !)alanee standing
in its favor.
It is no wonder, then, that a change m the county gov
ci-nment was hailed with satisfaction by the tax-payers of
the county. The change consisted m an Act by the Leg-
islature, transferring the management of county affairs to
a Board of Supervisors.
The Legislature of 1854-5 had under consideraLion the
siibieet of locating permanent^ the capital of the Stati',
34- HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
and among the places proposed and discussed as being-
suitable for that purpose was Crescent City.
What a wonderful Legislature that must have been!
What a number of valuable to^'n lots must have been
offered its members to induce them to propose as the cap-
ital of the State, a town in the extreme north-west corner,
and at that time almost inaccessible during the winter
months. What au immense amount of ignorance must
have been concentrated in that legislative body of the
days of '55! Even in these days of Kearneyism and sand-
lot legislation, it excites our admiration, in contemplating
the sublime ignorance of the country displayed by this
Dirfortunately for Crescent Ciiy, the bill removing the
State capital to that place failed to pass, and the visions of
town lot speculators vanished into thin air. But the
Crescentoniaus ware bouyant with life and energy, and
the news of the failure was \'mt a passing cloud across
their bright hopes :uad expectations. No doubt, as the
principal men of tiie place discussed the matter over their
wine and cigars, new speculations and day-dreams of
future greatness serverl to ''Solace the hopes that ended in
]n April tlappy Camp was thrown into a state of great
excitement by a murder on Indian creek, and Judge
Lj-nch was again called on to pass sentence on a criminal
The quarrel from which the murder arose originated in
the store of a Air. Smith, about a pipe which a man by the
name of McFarlan James accused one Phillips of having
taken from his pocket. Angry words ensued, which led
to a fight between the two, when James received a mortal
wound. Phillips threw away his knife and escaped, but
was overtaken between Indian Creek and Huppj- Camp
and taken back to the former place.
A meeting of the miners was called, and Col. James
Taylor made Chairman, E. H. Scovel, Secretary, Perry
THE KLAMATH RESERVATION. 35
Masters, Constable, and John Ware, Deputy. C. -Wallace
offered a resolution to take the voice of the assembled
miners as to the propriety of trying J. A. Phillips by them,
or handing him over to the civil authorities. It was re
solved to try him by the miners. A committee was
appointed to collect the evidence, C. Wallace and A. Boyce
acting as counsel for the State, and S. Boyce and John S.
Sands for the prisoner. The jury returned a verdict of
'.'guilty," and the prisoner was hung at 10 o'clock, a. m.,
March 31st, 1S55.
Arrangements for an Indian reservation on the Klamath
were completed in April, 1855, by S. (t. Whipple, Indian
Agent for Klamath count}'; the reservation to extend
from the mouth of the Klamath twenty miles up the river,
and two miles in width. Mr. Whipple took with him to
the ri-.servation some agricultural implements, tools, seeds,
a supply of twine for fishing nets, etc , for the use of the
Indians. About 1500 Indians, of every age and sex, were
on the reservation, living in some 150 huts. Mr. Whipple
engaged the sei'vicee of H. B. Dickinson, of Crescent City,
to instruct the Indians in the various duties and pursuits
which their location on the reservation might necessitate.
The number of Indians in Klamath Ciiunty at that time
was variously estimated at from 3000 to 5000, living
mostly' on the Klamath and its tributaries, and the neces-
sity lor a reservation had long been felt.
In June a company was formeil in Crescent City for the
purpose of whaling. Whales iiad frequently shown them-
selves in large numbers in and near the harbor, and it was
thought that the whaling business vvould prove a profita-
ble one. The company established works for trying out
the oil on Whale island, a large rock, containing about ten
acres, situated in the bay, and offering a convenient and
sate place for the purpose.
During the summer (>f 1855 business continued good,
and the merchants were extending their trade by every
36 HESTORY OF DEL NORTE.
means within their power. A sum or' money, amounting
to $4100. was raised by subscription for the purpose of
opening a trail from Crescent City to the Klamath, which
would shorten the route between Crescent City and Yreka-
The trail was completed by the contractors in August, of
the same year.
Sunday, June 24th, 1855, was a memorable day for
Crescent City, and the event which made it so will long-
be remembered by the early settlers of the county. At
3:20 o'clock on the afternoon of that day, the side- wheel
steamship America, A. G. Jones, Commanding, anchored
in the harbor, en route for Puget Sound, to which point
she was bound with the 21st V. S. Infantiy, numbering
132 men, under the command of Major Prince. The sea
was calm, the weather fine, and everything indicated a
speedy resumption of her voyage. The vessel had touchetl
at Crescent City for the purpose of landing passengers,
freight, mail and express matter. .Vfter the mail and ex-
press matter had been landed, it was perceived that an
unusual quantity of smoke was issuing from the vessel,
and many were the conjectures respecting the cause. But
conjecture was soon soHdified into the certainty that the
vessel was on fire, and asceneof indescribable excitement
ensued, both on shore and at sea. Lighters, boats, and
canoes dotted the bay and surrounded the ill-fated vessel;
those on shore could see that the crew and soldiers on
board were making almost superhuman exertions to mas-
ter the threatened calamity.
The report of Capt. T. J. Wright, owner of the vessel,
published in the Cresaent City Herald, states that "in
about 15 minutes after anchoring discovered large quanti-
ties of smoke issuing from the coal bunkers, when the cry
of " fire," was given No flame conld be seen, but volumes
of smoke and gas enveloped the vessel so completely that
it was utterly impossible to go below, and the exact loca-
tion of the fire could not be ascertained. Having a larg-e
BURNING OP THE AMERICA. 37
miniber of soldiers on board, in addition to the crew of the
vessel, all the pumps were manned and every exertion
was made to save the ship. The officers and crew of the
vessel j)erformcd their duty faithfull}-; working inces-
santly amid the flames and sufi'ocating gas and smoke,
never leaving their posts for a moment, until they were
requested to do so and take to the boats. The fire was
purely accidental, and is supposed to have originated in
the coal bunkers from spontaneous combustion."
All the soldiers who could be spared from the vessel
were soon sent ashore, and in about 30 minutes after the
fire was first discovered the ship was run aground in the
shallow water about one hundred and fifty yards from
Fire, and especially a fire on board a ship, will arouse
:ill the energy and enlist the aid of any people. The citi-
zens of Crescent City were eager to save the burning ves
sel, and with wonderful rapidit}' and energy buckets,
ladders, ropes, and everything deemed useful were sent on
board. At times it sc'-med that the fiery element must
yield to such persistent and united efforts; but the dense
smoke gradually deepened and darkened, the efforts on
board became feebler on account of the impossibility of
men maintaining their positions, and a sheet of clear flame
that tore through the black sky proclaimed the triumph
of the destroyer.
Seeing no hopes of saving the ship, the crew and citizens
who had fought the fire so gallantly, now left the vessel
to her fate. The greedy flame fed eagerly, and on Mon-
day morning a charred, smouldering and hideous skeleton
was all that remained of the steamer America. Thus
ended the career of a vessel almost new, and by far the
most efficient steamer that in early days sailed the
On the destruction of the steamer becoming certain, the
■City Council convened, and appointed Major Wendell and
38 HISTORY OV DEI- NOUTE.
S. G. Whipple a committee to wait upon the owner and
commander, and to tender to them, their oflficers, passen-
gers and crew the hospitaUties of the city. This act on
the part of the citizens showed both courtesy and kindness,
but some .circumstances connected with the catastrophe
reflect no credit upon any of the parties concerned. It is
said that the boatmen of the place made exorbitant charges
for their services in saving goods from the vessel, and that
the soldiers, as soon as they were landed, commenced a
pilfering war on the citizens' pork and poultry. Perhaps
it is only charitable to suppose that the poor fellows were
hungry, and had no felonious intentions when they com-
mitted these depredations; but some doubt is thrown on
this supposition by the following toast, proposed by one
of the Company on the Fourtb of July:
" The CtALLAnt 21ST---Set them before Sebastopol, and
if they cannot conquer, they will steal it!"
The America was built by Wm. H Brown, New York,
in 1853, and registered 923 tons. She was brought around
Cape Horn by Capt. Mitchell, ariiving at San Francisco in
1854. She was there bought by J T. Wright ^.nd em-
ployed in the coast trade, the princip.-il portion of the time
running to Crescent City. The vessel was valued at
SI 40,000, and was uninsured.
Sometime after the fire the hulk was examined and it
was thought that it would pay to tow it to San Francisco,
where the vessel could be rebuilt. Accordingly, the
steamer Goliah took the hulk of the America in tow, and
towed it safely until off Point Keyes, where she experienced
heavy weather and broke the hawser, thus sending the
unwieldy hulk adrift. Every effort was made to regain
her, but without success, and the last seen of the America
she was full of water, the sea breaking clear across.
As the first rays of sunlight flashed on the waters of the
bay on the morning of the Fourth of July, 1855, the roar
of three brass cannon ushered in the davvn of the eightieth
FOURTH OF JULY, 1855. ' 39
birthday of our independence. These cannon had been
recovered from the wreck of the steamer America, and
were placed on Battery Point, a rocky strip of land form-
ing the left hand horn of the crescent shaped beach, and
elevated above the ocean som'e twenty or twenty-five feet-
Here, in place of a light-house there was a large lantern
fixed on the top of a stout pole; this j)ole was at regular
intervals pierced with holes through which projecting pins
were driven, forming a sort of primitive stairway to the
Fresnel light above. Near this pole, on a spot command-
ing a view of the whole town, the cannon v^ere placed, and
throughout the day their hoarse voices proclaimed the
independence and patriotism of the people. A procession
was formed and marched through the principal streets,
including the detachment of U. S. Infantry under com.mand
of Major Henry Prince, the "Cresceut Hook and Ladder
Compan}^, and tlie local military companies. W. A. Ham-
ilton was Grand Afarshal, J. J. Arrington and F. B. Wes-
ton, Assistants. The Declaration of Independence was
read by J. B. Rosborough, and the oration was delivered
by Jno. P. Haynes.
On the 5th of September a general election was held
throughout the State, which was of special importance to
this county. It had long been a disputed question as to
which town in the county was entitled to be the county
seat. When Klamath county was created Trinidad was
the county seat. It w^as afterwards removed to Crescent
(Mty, but the people living on the Klamath river were still
dissatisfied, and urged that the county seat be removed to
Orleans Bar. This place, about 150 miles from Crescent
City, is situated in the hiidst of a mining district on the
Klamath river. At the general election above mention. -d
Orleans Bar was declared by the votes of the people to be
the county seat "from and after the 4th day of December,
A. D. 1855."
Owing to heavy snows, blocking up the trails, the win-
40 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
ter of 1855-6 was very dull, and Crescent City wore an
almost deserted look. But with the advent of spring-
came a general revival of trade; the streets were again
enlivened by the jingling tramp of trains, the sidewalks
encumbered with packages, and the stores resounded to
the bustling, hurrying voices of traders and packers. The
rate of freight from San Francisco to Crescent City was,
with but little variation, $12 per ton on sailing vessels,
and $20 per ton on steamers. Passage, in cabin, $40; in
steerage, $20. The pack trains received from 2 to 5 cents
per pound for carrying freight to various places in this
county and Southern Oregon. The express companies
were doing a large business, from $150,000 to $200,000 in
gold dust passing through Crescent City during the busi-
ness season of the year.
On March 1st, 1356, Crescent Ciiy was excited when a
party of six men returned from the mouth of Rogue river,
and confirmed the reports of certain depredations and
massacres by the Indians previously received. On account
of the war on Rogue river, the Indians all along the coast
were greatly excited, and those in the vicinity of Crescent
City and Smith's river spoke continually of the Indians
above intending to come down and drive (>ff the whites.
Some went so far as to intimate that in a '' few sleeps" ail
would be over with the whites.
The Indians on Chctce rivc'i' had be<'0me refractory,
and were threatening the whites. The Indians in the im-
mediate vicinity were very much frightened, and repre-
sented to the whites that the}' were in great danger of
being annihilated by the Rogue River Indians, Under
these circumstances the citizens had made arrangements,
in conjunction with Capt. Jones, U S. A., who was then
stationed at Crescent City with a company of 50 men, to
patrol the streets during nights. Capt. Jones assigned
half of his command to this duty, while the other half
were ordered to joroceed to Smith's River Valley.
A FALSE ALARM. 41
Expectation was on tiptoe, and a feeling that something
was going to happen pervaded the community. The most
unfounded rumors were circulated during the excitement,
and the most absurd reports were taken for certainties.
Several citizens were reported killed, who in reality had
not seen an Indian. .\11 the houses in Smith's Eiver Val-
ley were reported to be in flames, and 300 hostile savages
scattered over the valley. And notwithstanding that no
band of hostile Indians had been seen within twenty miles
of the town, rumor had spread the report on the other side
of the mountains that Crescent City had been totally de-
stroyed by an incendiary fire.
All the brick stores in town were used to shelter those
who could not face the enemj'-. The brick building on
Second street erected the year before by J. J. Friedman
& Co., received probably the largest share of these tran-
sient tenants. No less than 30 ladies and 15 or 20 children
wore there congregated, awaiting and drea ling the attack
of the Indians.
The streets wore a martial appearance. The "boys in
blue" were to be met with at every corner — saloon--
while companies of gallant "Volunteers patroled the streets
and declared that they were one and all prepared to die
"for their counti-y's good." Dwelling-houses and stores
were transformed into armed citadels, and every house-
holder could truly say that his house was his castle.
Although the terror of the inhabitants was real and not
feigned, several amusing incidents occurred during the
excitement.. Numerous unfounded reports made Uncle
Sam's " boj^s " wish they were in some other part of the
world, and caused the bold Volunteers to fortify them
selves with " Old Rye," or to " screw up their courage to
the sticking point" by a "stone-fence " or an " eye-opener.''
On one occasion, a practical joke was perpetrated on a
prominent citizen, causing considerable merriment at the
time, and securing several "treats" to "the boys."
42 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
It seems that J. F. Wendell and several others were as-
sembled in a certain bar-room, and were discussing the
probability of an attack by the Indians, Wendell contend-
ing that the danger was great and a fight inevitable.
While they were thus discussing the question, some one
of a waggish turn of mind affixed a smoked salmon to
Wendell's coat tails, who, all unconscious of the act,
walked down the street and into the saloon of Arrington
& Co. Standing with his back to the stove, the salmon
soon began to get warm, ;md the odor from its scorching
sidi 8 assailed the nostrils of the unsuspecthig Wendell.
The Indians on this coast live mostly on salmon, and
consequently bear always with them v.n unpleasant fishy
smell. Therefore it is not surprising that when the salmon
affixed to his coat-tails began to fill the room with its odor,
Wendell excitedly . shouted, '-Indians, by gosh!'' and
rushed from the room in searcb of his trusty rifle.
On Friday morning, March 5th, before daylight several
farmers and residents of Smith's Hiver Yalley arrived in
hot haste in the city. They reported, that on the day
previous their scouts had informed them of the approach
of the Indi.ms; that every house along the coast above
Smith's Iviver was in flames; and finaly, that but a few
hours would, remain to the settlers to bring their families
to a pb^ce of security. It was already dark on the evening
of Thursday when they yoked up their oxen and hitched
up four teams, loaded wtth their families and a few hosise-
hold articdes. After crossing Smith's fJivor their way
was for a distance of four or five miles through a dense
redwood forest, which made the dark night still darker,
and made it necessary to pilot each team by a lantern.
The road was new and rough, and after a variety of inci
dents almost inevitable to siicii a trip, the party reached
the opening at the head of Elk Yalley. and thoi-e halted
at the place of J. Y. Yalentii^.e.
From this place some of the men started on hoi'ses to
A FALSF, ALAKM. ,4o
Crescent City, which, as befoi'o moiitioncti, they reached
before daylight on Friday morning.
As the day broke, the bell on the Truck House of the
Crescent Hook and Laddei" Company rung out its clear
notes for a call of the citizens, and a short time afterwards
Capt. Jones started with a portion of his men and a num-
ber of Yolunteers out to Smith's River Yalley. At a sec-
ond meeting duruig the foi-euoori, J B. Eosborough was
appointed Commander for the purpose of directing the
means for the repulsion of the Indians, and sundry parties
were sent out in different directions to scour thoroughly
While all this was going on, the report was brought in,
between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, that the
Indians in large, numbers; and well mounted, had been
seen but three miles back of the town, and that they would
be on the spot in less than an hour.
The successive arrivals- of friendly or inoffensive Indians
from the neighboring rancherias, formed an episode in the
events of the day, adding fuel to the intense excitement
pervading the communitj^ These Indians, partlj^ on the
representations of the whites, and partly of their own
accord, put themselves under the protection of the whites,
and were removed to the island on which the light-house
is now situated. They were understood to confirm the
reports previously received; but afterwards it turned out
to be another proof, of how much oftener the whites mis-
understood than comprehended the meaning of the red
Evening drew near, and the town was hushed in expec-
tancy. Every moment the listening ear was strained to
catch the stealthy tread of the r. d-skin ; but the night
wore away, and still no savage war-cry had been heard,
and when morning broke, the inhabitants were gratified
to find that their scalps yet remained in their proper posi-
44 , HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
Then followed explanations: A drove of raules in
charge of some Mexicans on their way to Crescent City
had been taken for a band of hostile Indians; other causes
of alarm were disposed of by similar develoj)ment8, and on
the return of the several scouting parties during the day,
it was ascertained that no hostile band had crossed or
even as much as reached so far south as Smith's River.
Thus the panic ended, and the people once more resumed
their accustomed manner of life.. Guards were, however,
placed during the nights for some time afterwards, and
the Indians confined on the island were not removed for
several days. The number of Indians confined on the
island, as shown by the rations issued on the 2d of March,
1856. were: Smith's Elver, 179; Lagoon, 58; Ottegon,
Chacha, Kohpay, Neckel, 79; Total, 316.
In the Crescent City Herald of April. 1856, I find the
first record of a theatre in Crescent City "Not one of
those gorgeous palaces, within whose walls the people in
large and crowded cities lounge away their leisure hours,
but still a theatre, within brick walls, with a neat stage,
scenery, footlights, and all the most indispensible para-
phernalia of a Thespian temple," was erected in Crescent
City. The theatre is situated in Darby's brick building
on Front street, and is capable. of seating comfortably 200
persons. On the opening night, the " Crescentonian Dra-
matic Club" presented "for the first time in Crescent
Citj' "" the popular drama of "'The Toodles,'' and the even-
ing's entertainment concluded with the laughable farce of
"Paddy Miles, the Limerick Boy."
The population of Klamath county in 1856 was esti-
mated as follows: Happy Camp, mining population, 100;
Indian Creek, 450; other localities down to the mouth of
Salmon Eiver, 250; Salmon Eiver, 1200; Smith's Eiver
Yalley and Eedwood Diggings, mining and farming popu-
lation, 200; Crescent City, 800; Total, 11,700,
During the summer of 1856 business at Crescent Cit}',
ORLEANS BAU. 45
owing to continued Indian difficulties in Oregon, was
almost at a standstill. The town was filled with idle
miners, who had been forced to leave their claims through
fear of the Indians. But in other parts of the count}',
where the consequences of the Indian troubles were not
so severely felt, trade was better, and the miners were
still working their claims with profit.
Orleans Bar, the new county seat, was the scene of un-
usual activity. Hundreds of j)ack mules passed through
the place, destined for the upper Klamath and Salmon.
Traders were driving a brisk business, miners were doing-
well, several new buildings were in course of construction,
and competition among the business men ran very high.
Goods were plenty and cheap, and good living could be
had at a lower rate than at any other place od the coast.
Mines were also discovered in the Bald Hills, about six
miles from Crescent City, and during the summer the
miners there weni to great expense in sinking shafts,
building flumes, etc, .\ town was laid out and named
Vallardville, after a prominent French citizen, A. Yallard.
A company from San Fi-ancisco were operating at this
place with hydraulic power, j^robably the first attempt of
the kind ever made in the county.
At the 2d session of the 8od Congress an appropriation
was made for the erection of a light-bouse at Crcsceiit
City. The sum appropriated was 815,000. A site was
selected for the structure in June of the same year.
The first difficulty between the whites and the Chinese
occurred in the latter part of June. A company of Chi-
nese had about nine months before purchased a claim on
the North Fork of Salmon River of a party of white
men. They worked it without much siiceess until the
latter part of June, when they struck rich pay dirt, and
the parties who had sold it to them, discovering that thej^
fthe Chinescyl were making money, jumped the claim.
The Chinamen sued the white men and recovered judg-
46 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
iiient for the possession of the claim. The Sheriif of the
conntj proceeded under the judgment and ]3ut them in
jjossession of it, and thinking all was right, returned to
Orleans Bar. As soon as he had left, the same parties
again jumped the claim, and drove the Celestials off. The
local officers summoned a posse of citizens to reinstate the
Chinamen, but ^Ye^e resisted by the party claiming pos-
session, whereupon they opened fire upon them, killing
one man. The rest of the jumping party were arrested by
the citizens, and held to answer for their misconduct.
Whether they were punished or.U'tt the records do not
show: but ten chances to one they were not, for justice in
Klamath county, in districts remote from Crescent City,
especially, was administered in the rudest and most prim-
itive way. The Justices of the Peace, as a rule, knew
more of " beau j)oker " than of Blackstone, and it was sel-
dom that their decisions were given according to the law
To illustrate the scenes which often occurred in these
courts of justice, the following is related of a certain Jus-
tice's court. It must- be premised that the Justice was
noted f »r being iri"itable and passionate, and consequently,
that the -^ boys" were in the habit of playing jokes upon
The defendant, who was brought up for breaking furni-
ture, etc., in a house of rather delicate rejjutation, had
made himself particulaj]}' obnoxious to the Justice by his
practical jokes. The scene is given as it is said to have
occurred, and readers are advised as all pious people
should do. to skip the "cuss" words,
The defendant is brought into Court, whereupon, the
Justice rising and arranging his spectacles to give him a
better view, addresses him, '■' Well, you d d long, slab-
sided scoundrel, you're here, are you? I have been look-
ing for you a long time, and now I've got you."
Counsel for the prisoner— -"If the Court please, I appear
A GAMR iH^ " KKAIU)S.
as counsel lor the defendant, and would request that you
address yourself to me."
Justice-— " You be d d; you must be a blacker
hearted villian than he is to come here backing him up in
such performances as this."
Counsel- --"But, Uncle i'obert, you must not decide this
case without hearing it. You must have some proof."
Justice- -Proof, h- 1, haint I been there myself?"
It is needless to add that the defendant was committed
At another time the prosecuting attoi'ney in a certain
case went on to state, "That on such a night, ;it such a
place, in such a county ixnd State, Ben Strong did, in a
quiet game of "keards ' called euchre, with Joe Short,
with malice aforethoughL and evident intention to rob,
steal and swindle, 'turn up' a point more than he had
made,^thereby unlawfully taking the plaintiff's money."
Ben was also accused of " renigging." Two witnesses
were examined as to the character of the opposing parties.
Each^of the attorneys made a speech and put the case in
as strong a light as posssible. Then came the "charge:"
" Gentlemen of the jury." commenced the Squire very
gravely, "the pints in this here case, like angels visits
are few and far betwixt. The Court knows nothing about
euchre, and never did, but she knows a few about law,
gentlemen of the jury The Court has went through
Blackstone, on law, twice, and she has read Snugg*s
'seven-up;' and, gentlemen of the jury, she has picked up
a good many pints on 'poker'; but she aint nowhere in
' euchre,' and never was. But, gentlemen of the jury, the
Court thinks she understands the pints in this case. Ben
Strong and Joe Short they played at ten dollars ante, and
Ben he won. Will you, gentlemen of the jury, fine Ben
for winning? Who wouldn't like to win? Not even the
Court herself. But you kin do as you please about it.
Then the 'opposit' attorney says that Ben he cheated.
48 HISTORY OK I>Ei. NORTE.
But, gentlemen of the jury did he prove that pint? No,
he didn't begin to do it. Ben Strong plays a fair game at
'keards.' The Court has played 'old sledge' and 'whiskey
poker' with Ben for the last two years, and he never
catehed him stocking the papers or turning the Jack from
the bottom. But, gentlemen of the jury, you kin do as
you please with Ben. The pints ifi the case, then, gentle-
men of the jury, are, first: Bf you find that Ben Strong-
won Joe Short's money, it is clear that Ben hilt the best
keards. Second: Ef you find that Joe lost his money,
it is clear that Joe was in d d bad luck. These, gen-,
tlemen of the jury, are all the pints in the ease, and you
kin retire— -and don't be out long, for Ben is goingto treat
the whole court."
The jury, without leaving their seats rendered a verdict
of " not guilty," after which the winning side, headed by
the Court, adjourned to a saloon to imbibe. The "oppo.
sit" side, headed by Joe Short, left in disgust.
The Board of Supervisors of Klamath county met at
Orleans Bar, the county seat, on the first Monday in Au-
gust, and found that Lhe afl'airs of the county were in a
very bad condftion. The Treasurer's books had not been
properly made up, and according to the books of the Au-
ditor, a large amount of money had been unaccounted for
by the Sheriff. In view of these facts, the Boar I refused
to levy any county tax for that year. The Sheriff had
already reported that no property taxes had been collected
for the past year.
All this may have been very pleasing to the tax payers,
but it was certainly the means of involving the county in
a maze of financial difficulties, which it required years to
New and rich mines were discovered on Elk Creek, a
stream which empties into the Klamath about one half a
mile below Happy Camp. Men were rushing there from
all points- --numbers having even left the far famed Scott's
CRESCENT CITY R0A1> COMPANY. 40
Bar. It w&b estimated that three huiuireJ men were at
work, and none of them making less than from -SIO to S20
per day. The diggings were very extensive, in fact the
whole suri'ounding country so far as it had been j^ros-
pected proved to be rich.
In December the Crescent Cit}^ Phi.nk Road and Turn-
pike Company perfected their preliminary organization by
electing W. A. Hamilton President of the Company; T.
S. Pomeroy, Secretary; Henrj- Smith, Treasurer. Three
gentlemen were selected to examine and report the most
favorable route for a wagon road. Two years before a
company had been formed to construct a wagon road from
Crescent City to Illinois Valley, and a survey was made.
A large portion of the stock had been taken, when the
derangemeiit of business caused by the iailure of Adams .^
Co., Page, Bacon k Co., and many other San Francisco
houses of less importance, caused an abandonment of tl^e
The new company was formed with the same end in
view, bnt with the advantage of having anew route, over
which a road could be built for much less money than over
that selected by the old company. The estimated cost of
the new road u as -SSOjOOO. and the estimate of revenue
expected to be derived from it was $40,000 a year.
The Legislature of 1857- 8 passed a bill providing for
the division of Klamath county, an I for the creation of the
new county of Del Norte. It was first named ''Buchanan,"'
but the Committee on Counties and County Boundaries, to
whom was referred a bill to establish the new count}' aiul
detine its boundaries,reported it back with the amendment,
the name of the county, "Buchanan," be struck out and
that "Del Norte " be inserted in its stead.
Mr. Cofforth moved to amend the Committee's amend-
ment by striking out "])el Norte" and inserting " Alta."
Mr. Merritt suggested " Altissinia," as it was the farthest
50 HISTORY OF DEL NOUTE.
Mr. Cosby suggested " K'incon."
Mr. Westmoreland moved to strike out "Del ISTorte" and
insert " Dtl Merrit."
The question being taken on these amendments, they
were all lost, and after a little more sparring, the amend-
ment " Del Norte " was substituted for " Buchanan," by a
vote of 14 to 6, and the bill passed.
It located the seat of Justice at Crescent- City, and
ordered an election held in May, 1857, for the election of
county officers. For Senatorial purposes Del Norte was
attached to Klamath, and for Judicial purposes to the 8th
Judicial District. The bill also provided that Del Norte
pay one third of the indebtedness of Klamath county, and
that it was to issue bonds therefor, bearing ten per cent,
per annum interest, to Klamath county. Twenty per
cent, of the taxes and other monies received by the Treas-
urer of Del Norte was ordered to be set aside as a sinking-
fund for the redemption of said bonds; and the sum arising
from this twenty per cent, was to be appropriated annu-
ally to the redemption of said bonds. The Board of
Supervisors of Del Norte county were authorized to levy
a special tax, not to exceed twenty-five cents on each one
hundred dollars of valuation of taxable property in said
county; the fund arising from said special tax to be ap-
plied, in addition to the twenty per cent, above mentioned,
to the liquidation of the debt due to Klamath county.
The boundaries of Del Norte county were declared to
be as follows: " Commencing at a point in the Pacific
Ocean, three miles from shore, on 42d parallel of north
latitude, and running thence southerly three miles from
shore to a point one mile south of the mouth of Klamath
River; thence easterly, on a line parallel with said Klam-
ath Eiver, to a point one mile south of the mouth of Blue
Creek; thence in a north-easterly direction to the summit
of the Siskiyou Mountains; thence in an easterly direction,
following the ridge that divides the waters of Clear Creek
DEL NORTE COUNTY CREATED, 51
from the waters of Dillon's "Creek, to the Klamath Elver,
at a point equi-distant from the mouth of said Dillon's
Creek and the mouth of said Clear Creek; thence across
Klamath Eiver, and in an easterly and northerly direction
to said Klamath River, at the head of the canon, (^said
canon being about five miles above the mouth of Indian
Creek, and between Eagle Ranch and Johnson's Eaneh,^
following the ridge of the mountains, and heading the
waters that flow into said Klamath Eiver, on the south
side, between the two points last beforementioned; thence
crossing the river, and in a northerly direction following
the ridge dividing the waters that flow into the river
above from the waters that flow into the river below the
place of crossing, to a point on the 42d parallel of north
latitude, due north from the head of said canon; and
thence Avest to the place of beginning.'"
As may be seen from the above, the boundaries em-
braced all the country on both sides of the Klamath Eiver
as high as a point five miles above the mouth of Indian
Creek, and as far down that river as a point half-way be-
tween Clear Creek and Dillon's Creek, taking in Elk
Creek and the mining country thereabouts; in fact includ-
ing the points of Happy Camp, Elk Creek, Wingate's Bar,
Spanish Bar, Clear Creek, Indian Creek, Forks of Smith's
Eiver, and Crescent City and the adjoining country,
U. B. Freaner, J. T. Bayse, Peter Darby, R. B. Morford
and P. H. Peveler were appointed a Board of Commis-
sioners to divide the county into three Supervisor Districts,
to designate election precincts, to appoint officers of elec-
tion, to receive the returns, and to issue certificates of
election to those entitled to the same.
The month of April, 1857, brought the heaviest immi-
gration to Del Norte that had ever been known during the
same length of time. Over 450 passengers were landed at
the port of Crescent City within three days.
On Monday, May 4th, 1857, the election for county offi-
52 HISTORY OP DEIi NORTE.
cers for the new county of Del JS'orte took place, and the
officers elected were: County Judge, F. E. Weston;
County Clerk, Ben. Reynolds; Sheriii, N. Tack; District
Attorney, Jno. P. Haynes; Treasurer, B. Y. Naylor; As-
sessor, Solon Hall; Coroner, Jasper Houek; Surveyor, D.
C. Lewis; Public Administrator, Jno. T. Boyce. The
Supervisors elected were: First District, Wm. Saville;
2d, Ward Bradford; 3d, P. H. Peveler.
The Democratic party in Del Norte county was first
organized at the Excelsior Saloon, Crescent City, May
16th, 1857. Jno. P. Haynes, on behalf of a Committee of
three appointed to select a County Committee, submitted
the names of the following persons to fortn such County
Committee: Crescent City, T. S. Pomeroy, Pat McManus
and Peter Darby; Smith's River Yalley, Isaac Warwick;
Indian Creek, P. H. Peveler; Happj' Camp, Mr, Lippard;
Klamath River, R. Humphrej's.
Pursuant to notice, the stockholders in the Crescent
City Plank and Turnpike Company met in the theatre in
Crescent City, on the evening of the 4th day of June, for
the purpose of electing officers of said Company. W. A.
Hamilton was elected President, T. S. Pomero}*, Secretary,
and Henry Smith,, Treasurer, to hold office for the term
of one year. Messrs. J. W. Staxeler, John A. Baxter, F.
R. Weston, David Price, D. C. Dewis, E. Y. Naylor and
J, G. Wall were elected Directors of the Company for one
An assessment of $10 on each share of stock was levied,
and Marney & Davis, of Jacksonville, Jacob Mendenhall,
of Illinois Yalley, and J. E. Sloan, of Kirbyville, were ap-
pointed agents to collect the same in their respective
vicinities. Through the untiring exertions of the Presi-
dent, W, A. Hamilton, all the stock in the enterjjrise had
been subscribed for, to the amount of 850,000.
The summer of 1857 found Del Norte county in a i^ros-
perous condition. And in taking a retrospective view of
DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION. 53
their fiituation the people of Del Norte had much to con-
gratulate themselves upon, and had good reason to expect
a great increase in population, business and wealth during
the years to come. The division of Klamath county had
been accomplished and the new county of Del Norte cre-
ated; and above all, the determination shown by the Ju-
dicial officers of the new county to punish, and thereb}^
prevent crime, augured a new era in the administration of
county affairs, and an improvement in the moral tone of
the community. Another object,' the building of the
wagon road across the mountains, could now be considered
as certain of success.
During the months of March, April and May, the first
business months of the yeai', there were landed at Crescent
City 1278 tons of freight, and 1717 passengers. And the
above may be taken as a fair criterion of the average bus-
iness of the town in 1857.
The mines were also paying as well if not better than
formerly. The miners on the Klamath were making good
wages. On Indian Creek the miners were making an
ounce per day to the hand.
The Crescent Hook and Ladder Company gave their
third annual b:dl on July 3d. There was nothing remark
able about the ball, except the fact that the price of tickets
was placed at $10 each; which would certainly be a
remarkable occurrence in these days.
The Democratic Convention to nominate a Senator
from this district, which was then composed of the coun-
ties of Del Norte, Klamath and Siskiyou, met at HajDpy
Camp on the 29th of July, 1857, and organized by electing
Jno. P. Haynes, of Del Norte, President, and R- Haden,
of Siskiyou, Secretary. The number of votes allowed each
county was as follows: Siskiyou, ten; Klamath, four;
Del Norte, three.
On the first ballot D. J. Colton, of Siskiyou, was nomi-
54 HISTORY 01'' DEL NORTE.
Afterwards, the delegates from Klamath and Del Norte
went into convention for the nomination of a candidate to
represent those two counties in the Assembly, and nomi-
nated R. P. Hirst, of Klamath county, for that office.
On Wednesday, September 2, a murder occurred that
caused great excitement throughout this county and Sou-
thern Oregon, and led to the belief that an organized band
of cut-throats and robbers were plying their vocation in
this part of the State.
Max. Rothenheim. a prominent merchant of Crescent
City, was murdered and robbed in broad daylight on the
trail leading from that place to Illinois Yalley. The cir-
cumstances, as detailed by Mr. Lewis, who was traveling
with him at the time, are as follows : Eothenheim and
Lewis stopped at Elk Camp (^thirty miles from town^ on
the 1st of September, they being on their way from the
mining districts to Crescent City. They took an early
breakfast on the morning of the 2d, and started on. They
had got about a mile on their way, when Lewis, who was
in advance, heard someone order them to "halt," and
looking up saw a man standing ahead of them in the trail,
masked, and with a shot-gun presented at him. He sang
out to Eothenheim to shoot him, and jumped from his
horse. As he touched the ground the man fired, and
Lewis' horse was struck by several buck-shot. He seized
the bridle of his horse and ran down the trail with him
some twenty -five yards, when he heard another shot and
saw Rothenheim fall. As he fell someone said, " you're
safe," and he then saw another man, also masked, and
with a revolver. Rothenheim's mule was running, and
the first man he saw cried out, " never mind the mule,
shoot the man." Lewis' horse had fallen dead and he
continued his flight, and by a circuitous route returned to
Elk Camp, where he remained until the Express train
came along, and accompanied it in to town. On arriving
at the scene of the murder they found the dead horse, but
MURDER OF MAX ROTHENHEIM. 55
could not see anything of the body of Eothenheim, the
As soon as the news reached town the excitement was
intense, and Coroner Houck and Deputy Sheriff Hiley
with a party started at once to search for the body. It
was found some twenty yards from the trail, where J?o-
thenheim had apparently laid down himself, as his attitude
was perfectly easy and natural, and there were no marks
of his being taken there by violence. The body had been
robbed of everything valuable. The amount of money
Eothenheim had is not known, but it is known that he had
made some collections in the mines, and that he also had
about $700 belonging to another person.
The body was taken to Crescent City, where an inquest
was held, after which it was shipped to San Francisco for
intermeni. At the iuquest to enquire into the cause of the
death the following verdict was found:
"The jury empaneled to enqire into the cause of Max
Eothenheim's death find as follows, viz: That the said
Max Eothenheim came to his death by a gun-shot wound
inflicted by some person or persons to the jury unknown,
That said killing was committed in the coiinty of Del
Norte, State of California, about one mile from Elk Camp,
on the road from Crescent Cit}^ to Illinois Yalley, and oe
curred on the 2d day of September, 1857. We are also of
the opinion that the crime of murder was committed with
the design of robbery, by two or more persons, and we
have reason to suspect Bill Judd and accomplices of the
perpetration of the crime."
Many different theories were advanced as to how and
by whom the murder of Max Eothenheim was committed,
but through all the contradictory opinions expressed, one
conviction forced itself into the minds of all — that this
portion of the State, which had before been free from the
drepredations of the gangs of highwaymen who had in-
fested other parts of it, could no longer be exempt from
56 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
their rascally deeds. It was thought by many that an
organized band of robbers and murderers bad their haunts
in Northern California and Southern Oregon, and that
these bands had friends and agents everywhere. That all
parties coming to Crescent City from the interior, who
were known or supposed to have money with them, were
watched there can be no question. Besides the murder of
Eothenheim on the trail, there had been, within a week
previous to it, two robberies committed, one in Croscent
'City and one in Smith's Eiver Yalle3^ Men known to be
bad and desperate characters had been seen in various
parts of the county, though fortunately perhaps for them-
selves, they did not remain.
Ely Judd and Bill Judd, two brothers, were supposed to
be the murderers, and one of them, Ely, was arrested by
the citizens of Happy Camp and kept a prisoner for three
daj^s. He then managed to make his escape. He w^as
followed some distance up the river by Henry Doolittle
and others, but was not recaptured at the time.
The " Metropolitan Theatrical Company," from San
Francisco, made their first ai^pearance in Crescent City on
Monday evening', Sej^tember 28th, 1857. The plays se-
lected were "Perfection" and "Loan of a Lover." The
circumstance making the " Metropolitan's" worthy of no-
tice in these pages is, that among them was one wdio was
destined to receive the homage of the world; whose acting-
would some day delight and amuse thousands upon thous-
ands of people; whose lightest word and slightest gesture
upon the stage would hold countless audiences spell-bound,
and bring hundreds of admirers to her feet.
All history has shown that the greatest men and women
of any age rose from the lower walks of life, and step by
step, mounted the ladder of fame, until they reached the
topmost round. And they have sprung from the most
unexpected and unlikely places; from hot-beds of vice and
crime, they have passed unscathed to a higher and a better
LITTLE LOTTA. ^ 57
lifej from the lowest and most degrading surroundings,
they have risen to be shining lights in the constellation of
dramatic, literary and scientific celebrities. In the words
of the poet;
'' AU the world's a stage,
Aii'l all tbe men and wome'i
, They have their exits and
And one ujan ij. hi- time
plays iiKifiy part?."
And it is not surprising that upon the stage of a small
theatre in a far off California town, one of the most cele-
brated actresses of modern times "■ made her entrance "
into public notice, and laid the foundation for a great suc-
cess upon the stage.
This member of the " Metropolitan" troupe was no other
than the now famous Lotta- -whose naive ways, sweet,
childish voice, and nimble feet were even then giving
promise that she might, with careful training, achieve a
high position in her profession. She had already become
a capital little actress, but it was on this tour through
ISlorthern California and Southern Oregon that she first
gained a secure hold on the good-will and admiration of
the public. The troupe played through the week in Cres-
cent City to full houses, afterwards leaving for the interior,
where they met with equally largo and enthusiastic audi-
The Hoard of Examiners appointed under the provisions
of the Act of the Legislature of 1856 -7 dividing Klamath
county and creating the new county of Del Norte, con-
sisting of Messrs. Lewis, Pevoler, McDonald and Buel, met
at Orleans Bar on the third Monday in September, and
proceeded to the discharge of their duties. They first
went to work to ascertain the indebtedness of Klamath
county prior to the 4th day of May, 1857, and finding it
impossible to do so in any other way, fixed upon the pro-
58 HISTORY OF DEti NORTE.
ceedings of the Funding Commissioners of Klamath county
as the basis of said debt, notwithstanding a large number
of bills had been audited by the Supervisors of that county
since the organization of Del Norte, the most of which
were audited at a special term in June, ]857. The whole
of this bill was $5,534.85.
It was problematical whether Del Norte was properly
responsible for any portion of this amount, in the auditing
of which she had no voice; but taking into consideration
the distracted condition of the county government of
Klamath prior to May, 1857, the death of her Treasurer,
the resignation of her Assessor, the default and abscond-
ing of her Sheriff, and the necessity that existed of having
all claims against her audited before the funding of her
debt, the Examiners thought it best to take the amount
funded by Klamath as the amount of her debt previous to
May 4th, deducting froru it, however, the debts incurred
by Klamath during the month of May, That amount,
making allowances for back licenses collected by Klamath,
and also for warrants redeemed by her from her own
funds, was in all $26,843.54. This then, was the amount
to be divided between the two counties.
The next step was to establish a basis on which to
divide it. On this point the words of the Act creating the
Board of Examiners were, "and when the amount of in-
debtedness is so ascertained, they shall determine the
amount of said indebtedness to be paid by Del Norte
county, taking as a basis the sources of revenue of the tw^o
counties." The Del Norte Examiners there^fore proposed
to take as a basis the sources of revenue of the two coun-
ties for the year ending in 1858, taking the licenses for
May, June and July, 1857, as the basis for the year.
This apportionment would have resulted as follows:
Eevenue of Klamath for the year, $10,659.80; revenue of
Del Norte, $6,555.75.
At which rate the proportion of Del Norte would have
APPORTIONMENT OP THE DEBT. 59
been a trifle more than one third of the whole debt. To
this proposition the Examiners on the part of Klamath
dissented, urging as a reason for their dissent, that it
was working injustice to them to take into the calculation
the revenue derived from Foreign Miner's License. It
was urged upon the Klamath Examiners that if the For-
eign Miner's License was a source of revenue, they fthe
Klamath Examiners^ were unjust; if it was not a source
of revenue their view was correct. And to show how
strongly it was relied on as a source of revenue, the fact
was mentianed that an adjoining couiiLy in Oregon relied
entirely upon this tax for the support of her county gov-
ernment, and levied no property tax at all. However, the
Klamath Examiners were firm in their refusal, and the
Examiners from Del Norte, would accept no other propo-
The Board then endeavored to agree upon a fifth man
to decide the point, but there they failed again, and were
compelled to adjourn without accomj)lishing anything
more than the ascertaining the amount of debt to be
As before stated, the whole debt outstanding of Klamath
county on the 4th day of May, 1857, of which Del Norte
had to pay its portion, was $26,843.54. The Board having
failed to divide this, the only thing now to be done under
the provisions of the division act, was for the County Au-
ditor of Del Norte to draw his warrant on the Treasurer
of said county for one-third of this amount, being $8,948.
09. A very nice little sum for Del Norte to have on her
back at the commencement of her existence.
Nothing of special interest occurred during the opening
months of the year 1858, except the capture of Bill and
Ely Judd, two notorious characters who were suspected
of having been engaged in the murder and robbery of Eo-
thenheim, the summer before. They were captured near
Shasta by the Sheriff of Shasta county, where they were
60 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
turned over to Deputy Sheriff Eiley, of Del Norte, who
took them to Crescent City and lodged them in jail.
After being lodged in jail at Crescent City they were
searched, and a file made of a jMece of steel spring was
found on each, concealed in their hats. They had a pre-
liminary examination before Justice Mason, and were
committed to await the action of the Grand Jury.
But these desperate men were determined to escape from
the clutches of the law, and on Monday evening. Februar^^
Ist, the citizens were alarmed by the cry that the prison-
ers had escaped. It appeared that Deputy Sheriff Liddle
and the jailer, Mr. Sykes, had just taken the prisoner's
supper to them, and as usual, had removed the irons from
their wrists that they might eat with more ease. They
had finished their supper, Mr. Liddle had replaced the
irons on EI3' Judd, and was about doing so on Jack fa,
man in jail for robbery y) when Jack struck him a severe
blow on the head, having 011c hand-cuff on. Mr. Liddle
stepped back, to get out of the way of the irons, but Jack
struck him several times on the head with them, cutting
it badly. Bill Judd at the same time knocked Sykes
down the steps, and he and Jack made a rush out of the
door, they having previously cut the chains which bound
the irons on their legs. Ely made no attempt to run.
Jack did not get far, for Mr. Liddle, cut and bleeding as
he was, and compelled to hold on to the railing for suj)-
port, fired iwo shots at him, one of which took effect, and
he was soon secured and brought back, badly wounded.
Li the meantime Bill Judd made a run for the woods back
of the jail and was soon out of sight, it being then nearly
dark. Several parties went in pursuit, but without suc-
cess. Sheriff Tack offered a reward of $500 for Judd, and
he was finally captured on the Klamath by four soldiers
stationed on the reservation, and again taken back and
lodged in jail.
Many complaints were made during the spring of 1858
A RESERVATION FARCE, 61
in regard to the management of the Klamath Indian Ees-
ervation, and people were beginning to think that it was
something of a humbug. It was supposed to have been
established for the jjurpose of collecting the Indians upon
it, and maintaining, them there, teaching them to cultivate
the soil, and for that purpose a great deal of government
money had been spent every year. But instead of
answering the purpose for which it was iutended, the Res-
ervation was notoriously mismanaged, and the Indians
were prowling around when and where they pleased.
Crescent City was full of them; they were all over it at
nights, they were sleeping in buildiiigs in all parts of it—
and it was in constant danger of being set on fire by their
carelessness. ' It was the duty of the Government to get
all the Indians on the reservation and keej) them there,
and as it was then being conducted, it was a reservation
onl}' in name. And, as usual in such cases, the blame
could not be traced to any one whose duty it would be-
come to afford relief.
The Crescent City Plank Eoad and Turnpike Compan}'
completed their road in May, 1858, and the first stage over
the whole length of the road left Crescent City on the 19th
of that month. The first stage line was established by
McClellan &: Co. and P. J. Mann, and a tri-weekly stage
was run from Crescent City to Sailor Diggings, connecting-
there with the stage line for Jacksonville, Yreka, and
'Fraser Eiver became the new Eldorado toward which
all eyes were turned durin'g the summer of 1858, and Del
Norte suffered severely from the constant drain upon her
population which ensued. The Eraser River mines were
said to be immensely rich, and many fabulous stories were
told in regard to the great fortunes made there. The fever
raged with the utmost intensity. On the street, in
saloons and billiard halls, in the bar-rooms of hotels, in
public halls and in private circles, the all-absorbing and
62 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
only topic of conversation was the Fraser Elver mines.
Crescent City presented alternately an empty or crowded
appearance as steamers were just leaving or just arriving
to take away the numbers that were flocking in from the
interior to take passage on them.
The saloons presented much the appearance of '54, being
tilled with miners playing billiards and cards, and drinking
poor whiskey. Gambling tables groaned under their bur-
dens of coin and gold-dust, and the miner's money seemed
to have caught the prevailing excitement, so rapidly did
it change from one pocket to anotlier.
But Crescent City was not the only part of the State
which suffered from this excitement. Other places on the
Coast became almost depopulated. Trinidad had but six
inhabitants left, and numbers were leaving Humboldt,
from which bay, in addition to the steamers, two sailing
vessels departed with passengers for the North. Kerby-
ville had " gone in," Jacksonville was thinning off rapidly,
and miners were fast leaving the different creeks and dig-
gings on the Klamath.
All this had a serious and detrimental effect on the bus-
iness and prosperity of the county-— in fact, it was the |
first swash of the wave of adversity which afterwards i
broke over Del ^orte. !
The Indians living on Smith's River imitated the oft- j
repeated example of the whites, and in May, 1859, invoked ]
the aid of Judge Lynch to help one of their brethren to !
" shuffle off this mortal coil." An Indian belonging to the j
Yontocket tribe had murdered one belonging to the Smith's |
Eiver tribe, without provocation. He was taken to Cres- !
cent City, when the tribe of the murdered Indian, with \
Has, its chief, and the brethren of the victim, took the In- ;
dian out on Battery Point, and hung him at the same spot |
where the murderers of French had been executed four ■
years before. The brother of the prisoner fastened the |
rope around his neck himself with every appearance of ;
FUNDED DEBT OP KLAMATH COUNTY. 63
heartfelt satisfaction. They were not adebts, however, in
the white man's mode of punishing criminals, and made
three several attempts before they finally succeeded in
extinguishing the life of the unfortunate brave. The In-
dians were not interfered with in any manner by the
whites, although a large crowd had collected at the scene
The Legislature of 1858--9 ajspointed Commissioners to
apportion the Funded Debt of Klamath county, and the
interest thereon, between the counties of Klamath and Del
Norte. This question had long been a bone of contection
between the two counties, and several attempts to settle
the matter had been made without success. The Act ap-
pointing the Commissioners provided and specified that
the revenue of seven months of the year, namely, from
June 1st, 1857, to January Ist, 1858, should be the basis
The Commissioners, W. M. Buel, on the part of Klamath
county, and Ben. F. Dorris, on the part of Del Norte
county, declined to act in the premises, alleging as a
reason, that, in their opinion, a just and equitable' settle-
ment could not be made according to the provisions of said
Act. In their report to the Board of Supervisors of Del
Norte county, they stated, that upon an examination of
the statements furnished them by the Auditors ot the two
counties showing the net revenues of both, they found
that seven months taken as a basis would work greatly to
the prejudice of Klamath county. They therefore pro-
posed, after a due consideration of all the circumstances
attending the embarrassed condition of affairs, to take the
revenue of the first year, namely, from May 4th, 1857, to
May 4th, 1858, as the basis of settlement. The apportion
ment on this proposition was as follows: Joint debt of
Klamath and Del Norte counties, as ascertained from the
books of Funding Commission, $31,986.54; amount of rev-
enue collected in both counties from May 4th, 1857, to
64 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
May 4th, 1858, $14,667,69; apportionment of the debt ac-
cording to the above ba8i8---Klamath county, 120,307.00;
Del Norte county, ^11,679.54; interest to be calculated to
the 11th of June, 1859.
On the 7th of July, .1859, the Judds, who had so long
been confined in the county jail, waiting their trial for the
murder of Eothenheim, made their escape. This was
done by sawing out one side of the iron bars of the win-
dow in the rear of the building, and then forcing them
around, leaving an aperture through which they made
their escape. As far as the county was concerned, it was
benefitted by their escape, for they had been living at its
expense for nearly two years, and after such a lapse of
time their conviction was at least exceedingly doubtful.
About three o'clock on the afternoon of the 9th of the
same month, a fire broke out on Front street, near J. The
flames spread with great rapidity, and in a very short
time the entire block on Front, up to I street, was con-
sumed, with the exception of the two brick buildings on
the lower corner. The loss by the fire was about ^30,
000. The principal sufferers were Wenger & Co.', M. J.
McNamara, G. Patchin, H» B. Congdon, Mrs. H. Grubler,
and the Herald. A few days after the fire the citizens
held a meeting and adopted measures towards procuring
a fire engine for the town, their late experience having
fully demonstrated the necessity for such an article.
The county had again the pleasure of boarding the dis-
tinguished individual known as Ely Judd, he being cap-
tured near Jacksonville in September and taken back to
Crescent City Bill Judd was also captured, in Washing-
ton Territory, taken back and lodged in jail at the same
The case of the People vs. Judd was tried at the Nov.
term of the District Court, and the jury returned a verdict
of not guilty, which created a great deal of astonishment
among citizens generally.
THE JUDD TRIAL. 65
On motion of the District Attorney, the indictment
against the Judcls was ordered dismissed by the Court,
and they were discharged from custody. And so ended
the Judd farce, in which the ends of justice had not been
carried out, innocent blood had not been atoned for, and
the tax-payers of Del Norte had been saddled with a debt
of thousands of dollars.
COPPER MINES WHAT " HUMBOLDT " DID— -DEL NORTE POLI-
TICS IN 1860— -THE CLOUDS OF WAR— GREAT
FLOOD OF 1861-2 —AN INSULT TO
THE FLAG— -FROM THE YEAR
1859 TO 1865.
The fact that copper existed in large quantities in Del
Norte county had long been known, and in March, 1860,
numerous specimens taken out by parties who opened the
vein were tested by D. S. Sartwell, Dr. Henry Smith, and
others, all of which proved the ore to contain a large per
cent, of pure copper. This induced the formation of a
company, under the direction of D. C. Gibbs, Geologist,
who was one of the discoverers, for the purpose of more
thoroughly prospecting the vein, which was well defined,
the out-eroppings having been easily traced for over a
The vein was first opened at a point about two-thirds
up the hills rising back from Smith's River, near Black's
Ferry, eight miles from Crescent City, and at an elevation
of 500 feet from the river. The existence of copper in this
section had been known to many since 1853, but until the
spring of 1860 no attempt was made to find the vein or
test the quality of the loose pieces occasionally found.
The company mentioned above made several openings
to the depth of from 20 to 30 feet along the lead at different
THE DISCOVERY OP COPPER. 67
points, in order more fully to ascertain the character of
the lead and the quality of the ore. The discoveries made
by them were enough to prove that the county was rich
in various minerals, and all that was needed was the en-
ergy to prospect, and continue prospecting, until the hid-
den treasures of her hills would claim for Del Norte an
enviable position among her sister counties.
That great institution, the capital stock of Fourth of
July orators and prosy political speakers— -the American
eagle — had for several years been soaring over the tree
tops in the vicinity of Crescent City, and many attempts
were made to capture.it; and at last it was taken captive
near town by J. Lord, who sent it to San Francisco.
Twenty years ago gambling was a prevailing vice in
California, and Del Norte was not an exception. The sa-
loons in every mining camp in the county were the head-
quarters of "poker sharps" and professional gamblers.
And the saloons of Crescent City, especially, were the
favorite haunts of those who were eager to stake their
honor, reputation and money on a game at cards.
After the business hours of the day were over, the dif-
ferent places of resort presented an interestiiig commentary
on the influence of California life upon all classes of
societ}'. The propensity of the early California population
to invest in great mining schemes, and risk their all to
gain a sudden fortune, had left its impress on those who
came after them. Everything was the subject of specu-
lation. Chance entered into every business transaction,
and it is not surprising that the same element entered into
and composed a part of the pleasures of those whose sole
ambition was to make their "pile" and i-eturn to "the
Night after night, in the principal saloons of Crescent
City, the card-tables wei'e surrounded by a motley crowd
of gamblers. And these were not confined to the "pro-
fessiontjis." or those -v^ho m-A(]e their living by gambling.
68 HISTORY OV DE(i NORTE.
Frequently, at the same table the merchant sat opposite
the miner, the packer faced the new arrival from the East
ready to be "fleeced." Thousands of dollars changed
hands in the space of a few hours. Some, calm and cool,
lost, and won their money witli a stoical indifierence
worthy of a Sphinx; others, feverish and excited, ner-
vously dealt the cards, or eagerly watched every turn in
the tide of fortune.
On Sunday evening, May 20th, 1860, a man called
" Humboldt " had engaged in a "little game" and had
met with bad luck. The cards had turned against him all
the evening, and he had lost a large amount of money.
However, it so happened that " for ways that are dark,
and tricks that are vain " " Humboldt" was peculiar. He
was up to several dodges of which the uninitiated had no
knowledge, and determining to " stock " a deck of cards,
and thereby iocrease his chances of winning, it is said
that he went to a room in the Oriental Hotel with the
purpose of secretly "fixing up" the deck. Having a
lighted candle in his hand, and being too much under the
influence of liquor to heed the danger from fire, a few
minutes only had elapsed when flames were seen issuing
from the building. The fell destroyer spread rapidly, and
in spite of all exertions the entire block was soon con-
sumed. The engine company. Active No. 1, was promptly
on hand, but water was scarce and she was finally obliged
to take it from the slough on Second street. The citizens
were out in a body, and together with the firemen worked
hard to save all that was possible. The loss amounted to
The summer of 1860 was attended with great excite-
ment in consequence of new discoveries of copper ledges,
and the mines attracted considerable attention in San
Francisco and other places. A party of Cornish miners
arrived and pronounced the ore they saw here the richest
they had ever seen before. The ore was not onh^ rich, it
COPPER MINES. 69
was accessible. Wherever the leads were worked the
more positive became the evidence of their value. In
consequence the inhabitants of this section of country got
the copper fever badly, and were much excited over the
new discoveries. In fact, copper was all the rage and all
the cry. Oxides, and sulphurets, and casings, and out-
croppings ware familiar words on the lips of men who a
few months before would have been puzzled to define
them. At one time there was a regular stampede in
Crescent City. The streets were deserted, and the stables
were bare of either horse or mule.
A short account of the different claims then located in
the county will probably be of general interest, and below
will be found the best information in regard to them it
"has been possible to obtain :
The " Evoca " Company, which was the first one organ-
ized, located their mine on the trail leading from Black's
Ferry into Illinois Valley, about a half a mile beyond the
ferry. The "Excelsior" was situated on the same range
of mountains, one mile north of the '' Evoca.'" The " Pa
cific " was on the same range of mountains, still further,
sny half a mile, to the northward. The " Del Korte "
was located on the left hand side of Myrtle Creek, two
and a half miles from Black's Ferry. The " Alta Cali-
fornia " was located on what is known as the Low Divide,
on the wagon road from Crescent City to Illinois Valley,
the lead crossing the road. Next beyond the • Alta Cali-
fornia " on the Low Divide was the " L'nion," on the
opposite side of the road from where the " Alta " company
were working. Other mines, namely, the " Crescent, "
" Bamboo," " Mammoth," and the Chaplin and Bradford
claims, were located near the Low Divide.
When it is considered that but two months and a half
had passed since the first out-croppings had been discov
ered and tested, and that that short space of time had
called all these companies into existence, it will readily
70 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
ajjpear that the coi^per mines were not a myth, but some-
thing really substantial.
The Crescent City Wharf, the most western improymeDt
of the kind under the American flag, was completed on
August 11th, 1860. The whole distance from the shore to
the large, flat rock at which it terminated was 1320 feet.
It was afterwards continued to the far side of the rock,
and then an L was built along that far side, so that vessel s
coul'l lie head to the sea.
The fall months of 1860 ~ere cm/jfly remarkable for the
great political changes wliich occurr&l. • revious :o 1860
there had been but one political crguuizawoa in Del Norte
-—the Democratic party. Bu tue i.^^su-if-i =:hen brought
before the people were totally .afl^erent rrom any that haa
preceded them. Men recognized, the fact tha.t ".he Union-
was in danger. The clouds of war, which oad been
threatening so long, were about to burst oyer the country.
The eloc|uent words of Patrick Henry were once more
ringing through the land: "Gentleme.i cry 'peace!
peace!' but there is no peace."
No wonder, then, that men who had io.:- years been
Democrats, should forsake the party thai sought to
destroy the Union, and organize into other partie's, having
for their watchword, "the Union forever." and acknowl-
edging no East, no West, no North, no South, but an in-
dissoluble Union under the Stars and Stripes.
The first sign of any dissatisfaction with the established
political organization in Del Norte county was manifested
by a call for a Union meeting, for the purpose of organiz-
ing for the support of Bell and Everett, for President and
Yice-President. A meeting was accordingly held at the
Court House in Crescent City on the evening of the 23d
of August. N. O. Arrington was called to the Chair, and
Ben. F. Dorris was chosen to act as Secretary.
The meeting being > ailed to order, several speeches
were made, the Chairman referring to the distracted con-
DEL NORTE POLITICS IN ISeO- -A UNION MEETING. 71
dition of the coutitrj'', and urging all Union-loving men to
abandon the sectional candidates then before the people,
and rally to the standard of Bell and Everett.
Dr. F. Knox addressed the meeting at length, showing
forth the great necessity for a thorough and complete or-
ganization, and a well directed effort on the part of the
Union men throughout the country to make " a long pull,
a strong pull, and a pull altogether, to bring the great
Ship of State into that quiet harbor where vessels safe
without their hawsers ride."
The following Preamble and Eesolution, submitted
with suitable remarks by Jas. H. Gordon, were then
" Whereas, The times are sadly out of joint, and sec-
tional party strife has run to such excess, as to endanger
all the best interests of the country, and even to jeopard
the perpetuity of the Union itself; and
'"'Whereas, Our only hope for, the prosperity of the
country, or the permanency of its institutions lies in a
sjieedy return to the principles and practices of our fore-
fathers; thei-efore, be it
" Resolved, That we most heartily approve the action
ot the National Union Convention at Baltimore, and the
nomination of John Bell, of Tennessee, fo^' President, and
Edward Everett, of Massachusetts, for Vice-President, and
we now resolve ourselves into a Union Club, styled the
Bell and Everett Club of Del, Norte county."
Meanwhile, the Eepublicans and Democrats were not
idle. Speeches were made tliroughout the county by E.
G. Hayes, D. C. Lewis and Mr. Bassett on behalf of the
Hepubliciins, while the Democratic party was still more
numerously represented. '
Owing to the split in the ranks of the Democrats cauBed
by the nomination of Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel
V. Johnson, in opposition to John C. Breckenridge and
Joseph Lane, the party in this county was somewhat de-
72 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
moralized. Jno. P. Haynes, fnow Superior Judge of
Humboldt county J was the leader of the Douglas faction
in Del Norte, and the Crescent City Herald, edited by T.
S. Pomeroy, was the mouth-piece of the supporters of
Breekeuridge. The most prominent men of the county
were Democrats, and consequently both factioos of the
party were represented by able speakers, who made a
spirited canvass of the district.
The Kastern news of the attack on Fort Sumter, and the
defence and final surrender by Major Anderson, created a
profound sensation among the people of the county, as it
did all over the State. And in consequence of the depres-
sion and gloom caused by this news, together with the
hard times which had preceded it, business was at a stand-
still, and all trades and professions were feeling the effects
of the evil which had come upon the Nation. None of
the causes of inflation and business excitement operating
in the North and East existed here; therefore, trade and
enterprise languished and hid themselves away, and all
things partook of the general gloom and fed,r that pervaded
the Union. Men knew not how soon the tread of armed
feet might be heard in the Golden State, and neighbors
looked askance at each other, as if fearful of one another.
Journalism was n?)t an exception, and owing to lack of
support the publication of the Crescent City Herald was
discontinued and the material removed to Jacksonville,
Oregon. True, considerable mining was yet going on,
and some goods were being carried across the mountains
- — but compared with its former trade, Crescent City had
sunk to a very low ebb, and the times were at their
And from the beginning of the year 1861, a blank of sev-
eral years in the history of Del .Norte occurs, which it is
difficult to fill up— not because of the difficulty in procur-
ing reliable information, but for the reason that few events
of interest, except the great flood of 1861-2, transpired.
THE FLOOD OF 1861--2. 73
Del Norte, in common with the rest of the State, was
vibrating back and forth between hope and fear, as news
arrived of the victory of one side or the other. As people
living in perilous times, and surrounded by gi'eat and
threatening evils, as citizens of a country which was being
tossed to and fro upon the angry passions of sectional
war-fare, they saw their danger, and were awed by the
presence of war. This was no time for business activity,
when the life and property of the j)eople were threatened
by civil war; this was no time for improvement and
development by enterprising men, when the gloomy
clouds of war and rebellion hung over them, stretching
their dai'k shadows from East to West, from the Atlantic
to the Pacific.
Therefore, it was but natural that everything should
relapse into a dull waiting, waiting for the storm to break,
waiting for the sun of freedom and union to shine forth in
its brightness once more.
The winter of 1861-2 was one of unusual severity. The
flood-gates of heaven were opened, the rain poured down
in torrents, and fierce gales from the ocean added their
terrors to the scene The month of December witnessed
the worst of these storms. Eain fell in enormous quanti-
ties, until rivulets were transformed into brooks, brooks
became rushing rivers, and aided by the wind, the mighty
waves of the ocean at high tide forced themselves over
drift-wood, bulk heads and breakwater, into the streets of
Crescent ('ity, extending in some places as far back as
Second street. Huge logs were carried up on the side-
walks, crashing into Front street buildings, breaking win-
dows and doors, and doing other damage. On the beach,
the drift-wood was piled up to a great height, whole trees
being carried in by the tide. From one end of the beach
to the other, huge redwood, spruce and fir trees were
piled one upon another in inextricable confusion. It is
said that after the tide went out a buggy team was driven
74 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
CD the beach between the drift and the water, and that
the pile of drift-wood was so high that people on the
streets were unable to see the team. The Crescent Citj
Wharf, which had been built the same jear by F. E.
Wendell, was crushed by the drift-wood and carried away
by the sea. The sea and tide were immense, and had it
not been for the piles of drift-wood on the beach in front
of town, Crescent City would undoubtedly have been al-
most totally destroyed by the tide.
But the loss in Crescent City was small when compared
with the loss on Smith's Biver and the Klamath. The
surrounding country was flooded b}' Smith's Eiver, and
houses, barns, fences, cattle, etc., went down with the
stream, and Avere carried out to sea or broken to pieces by
falling and floating trees. The " oldest inhabitant" had
never seen the river so high as it was then; even the In-
dian, usually so fearless of water, was terrified by the ris-
ing tide, and the tribes in the valley removed to the
mountains for security from the flood. At Fort Dick, ^so
called from the fact that the citizens had once built a log-
house there for the purpose of defending themselves
against the Indians^/ over a mile from the bed of the river,
large dwelling houses were carried by the flood for a dis-
tance of half a mile or more. Buildings on the ranch of
Major Bradford, a short distance from the river, were
moved from their foundations, and much damage done to
other property on the ranch. Near the mouth of the
river, a fishery owned by W. H. Woodbury was washed
away, together with four hundred barrels of salmon.
At the mouth of the Klamath Hiver, the military sta-
tion was entirely carried away, all the buildings and much
other property being lost.
The company ot soldiers stationed at the Klamath,
under command of Capt. Stewart, were removed immedi-
ately after the flood to Smith's River Yalley, where they
I'emaine 1 until the summer of 1862, when Camp Lincoln
smith's river INDIAN RESERVATION. 75
was establisbed. Camp Lincoln was situated in Elk Yal
ley, six miles from Crescent City. Several substantial
buildings were erected there, a few of which are standing
at the j)resent time, Soldiers were stationed there until
1867, when the station was abandoned and the property
sold at auction.
Owing to the unsettled state of affairs, the citizens were
fearful of trouble with the Indians, as a large number of
them were roaming over the county. For the purpose of
gathering these bauds together where the controlling and
restraining influence of the soldiers could be exercised
upon them, the Government leased the large ranch of
Major Bradford, in Smith's River Valley, and established
thereon an Indian Eeservation. It was under the super-
vision of several men at different times, the first being
Capt. Buell. A large number of Indians were on the
reservation, and they were kept there until the year 1870.
In that year the Indians were removed by Agent Whiting
to the Hoopa Reservation, on the Klamath River.
During the time of the Civil War nothing of special im-
portance occurred except what has already been related.
Trade was depressed, business enterprise was checked,
and everybody were wailing impatiently for the end-
when the fate of the Union would be decided. The war
feeling ran high, and many bitter animosities were engen-
dered by the war question. The majority of the inhabi-
tants of Crescent City, if not openly expressing themselves
in favor of secession and rebellion, at least sympathized
strongly with the Confederate cause, and many of them
were loud in their denunciations of the Union, and openl}'
expressed their feeling against its perpetuation. Those
who remained loyal to the Republic and Republican insti-
tutions were by far the lesser number, and they were bit-
terly opposed by the Confederate sympathizers.
There was a flag-pole in front of Dugan & Wall's Ex-
press office, on Front street, from which the flag of the
76 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE,
Union was often jflung to the breeze. Not to be outdone
by their Republican neighbors, the Democrats erected a
flag-pole on Second street, just back of the one on Front
street; and it was not unusual to see the flag of the Union
waving in close proximity to that of the Southern Con-
federacy. As the war progressed, the bitter feeling be-
tween the Democrats and Republicans grew apace. And
at one time, as the Democrats were in such a large
majority, it was not considered safe to hoist the Union
flag on the arrival of the steamers, especially if they
brought bad news of the Confederacy.
On one occasion a steamer arrived, and the emblem of
liberty and union was run up the flag-pole in front of Du-
gan & Wall's Express office. But in a few minutes it was
observed that it was hauled down again, and the men at
work on the lighters in the bay, noticing this, left their
work, marched up to the Express ofiice, and asked Mr.
Dugan, who had charge of the flag, why it was hauled
down. He replied, ''It might cause trouble, if the flag is
allowed to remain." The men were not satisfied with this
excuse, and finally Dugan took the flag out and threw it
down on the side-walk. Willing hands were there to
hoist it to the top of the pole,
" And all day long it rose and ffll,
On the loyal wind? that lovt^d it wi-H."
WRECK OP THE BROTHER JONATHAN- -DISCOVERY OF CHROME—
THE SUNDAY LAW— -THE OLD GUARD— BEACH
MINING A LIVELY EARTHQUAKE—
AND OTHER MATTERS, PROM
1859 TO 1881.
That wide world of waters, the sea, is as full of mystery
and wonder to-day as it was two thousand years ago,
when navigators thought that to go farther than a certain
distance from land would result in inevitable death, and
that a hand would be raised in the Western waters, indi-
cating the Ultima Thule beyond which it was folly to
And the superstitious awe with which the sea inspires
us, is felt now as strongly as it ever was. We may ad-
vance in science, religion, and art; we may be free from
the fanaticism of religious enthusiasm; our minds may be
stored with scientific knowledge, and clear with the en-
lightenment of the nineteenth century— -but still the mys-
tery and dread of the sea is felt by all, and its superstitions
still find a place in the minds of men. That vigorous and
thoughtful writer on Nature, John Burroughs, says of the
"It is a wide and fe'arful gulf that separates the two
worlds. The landsman can know little of the wildness,
ejavageness, and mercilessness of nature, until he has been
78 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
upon the sea. It is as if he had taken a leap off into the
interstellar spaces. In voyaging to Mars or Jupiter he
might cross such a desert—might confront such awful
purity and coldness. An astronomic solitariness and re-
moteness encompasses the sea. The earth and all remem-
brance of it is blotted out; there is no hint of it anywhere.
This is not water, this cold, blue-black, vitreous liquid.
It suggests not life, but death. Indeed, the regions of
everlasting ice and snow are not more cold and inhuman
than the sea."
And it is this terror which its grandeur and power in-
spires, that feeds the flame of superstition and awe, and
keeps it alive in our minds. Dr. Holland says that " it is
curious how superstition springs into life at sea. Of all
the monsters that swim the deep or haunt the land, there
is none so powerful as this, and none like this that is om-
nipresent. It can be fought or ignored upon the shore,
but at sea.it looks up from the green hollows of the waves,
and lifts, its ghostly hands from every white curl of their
swiftly formed and swiftly falling summits. It is in the
still atmosphere, in the howling wind, in the awful fires
and silences of the stars, in the low clouds and the light-
nings that shiver and try to hide themselves behind them,
.ileason retires before its' baleful breath, and even faith
grows fearful beneath its influence. It fills the imagination
with a thousand indefinite forms of evil, and none are so
strong as to be unconscious of its power."
Certainly it is;this superstitious feeling that makes tales
of the sea so absorbingly interesting when all other sub-
jects grow stale and flat. Would that what follows could
be given as an off-spring of the imagination, instead of an
account of events which actually transpired.
One summer's day in 1865, a great steamship, freighted
with a hundred precious lives, and carrying in her hold
s'oodsand treasure valued at four hundred thousand dol-
lars, prepared to start on her trip from San Francisco to
THE "BROTHER JONATHAN '"—THE START. 79
the Columbia Eiver. The ship was overflowing with life;
ofiicers in gay uniforms were busy in preparing for the
start; passengers were bidding farewell to friends and
kindred dear. Presently, the last farewells were spoken,
the decks were cleared of visitors, the gang-way was
hauled in, the fiery heart of the monster began to beat
and throb, the wheels revolved— -and the steamship
Brother Jonathan, freighted with bright hof)es and
brighter expectations, sailed gallantlj^ out through the
Golden Gate in a flood of sunshine, with every prospect of
a speedy and prosperous voyage.
Captain DeWolf, shajjing his course to the North, sailed
far out into the great Pacific — until the Heads grew indis-
tinct and shadowy, and the dark, rugged Farrallones
ftided away in the blue horizon- — until the 30th day of
July found the ship with nothing in sight but the bending
heavens and the heaving waste of waters.
Everything had passed off smoothly till the morning of
the 30th, when the wind increased to a howling nor-wester,
lashing the sea into a furious commotion. The ship
labored and straiiied in the angry sea, and it was at last
thought best to seek a port of safety. She was then about
due west from Point St. George, far out to sea, and out of
sight of land. Knowing that the Point would afford shel-
ter from the gale, the Brother Jonathan was headed for
Crescent City Harbor, just south of the cape.
And not one of her hundred passengers dreamed of the
fate in store for them! No one saw the hand of Death
beckoning from the silvery tide. No one heard the voices
in the wind and waves claiming them for their own.
Off Point St. George, about four miles from L-ind. a reef,
known as St. George Reef, extends for several miles west-
ward into the ocean. It is cut^tomary for steamers sailing
against a nor-wester, to keep close in shore, inside this
reef, in order to keep as much as possible out of the wind,
and vessels running down the coast to Crescent City also
80 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
run inside this reef. The Brother Jonathan was steering
on her course for Crescent City, and for some reason was
running outside the reef as laid down on the chart. She
had made the coast to the north of Point St. George, and
was therefore running before the wind, as she was making
for the harbor to the south of the Point. She was about
four miles off Point St. George, the Quartermaster at the
wheel, when suddenly she struck with tremendous power
on a sunken rock, with such force that her fore mast went
through the hull, her fore-yards resting across the rails.
Instantly the deck became the scene of the wildest con-
fusion. The crash was so sudden, so unexpected, so
awful, tbat those on board had scarcely recovered from
the shock when they saw that their doom was sealed- —
the ship was fast sinking into the embrace of the hungry
waves, and short time was left to prepare for death.
The pen is impotent to portray, the mind too feeble to
imagine the scenes that occurred on the deck of the ill-fated
steamer. Women fainted and implored for aid; strong
men who had looked death in the face a hundred times,
stared with fierce eyes at this watery grave; and aU
looked to "the Captain for the means of safety and deliver}''.
Life-preservers were distributed, two guns were fired in
quick succession, and command was given to lower the
boats from their davits. No sooner was the first boat in
the water, than a frenzied crowd rushed to the side and
threw themselves into it in such numbers that it was
swamped before it could get clear of the steamer. A sec-
ond and last boat was launched, which succeeded in clear
ing the vessel, running before the wind in the direction of
Who can describe that last minute on board the sinking
ship; the swooning forms on the deck; the selfish strug
gies for the means of safety; the wild, longing looks at
the land and sky which seemed to mock them; the last
farewells, given and received, "when eyes spake love to
THE "BROTHER JONATHAN "—THE WRECK. 81
eyes which ne'er might speak again;" the hands and
faces raised imploringly toward the heavens, from whence
the sun glared coldly down upon them.
One awful, trembling motion of the ship, one dreadful
plunge, and the great steamer, which but an hour before
had been the boast and pride of man, went down, with all
her treasure, her cunning machinery, and her precious
human freight, to sleep in the caves of ocean, until by the
agency of nature or of man she shall be lifted from her
bed. Those who but a moment before had crowded her
decks, felt themselves dragged down, down among whirl-
ing eddies that tossed them to' and fro, in the midst of
falling timbers that crushed and maimed them. And in
the struggle in the cold, deadly element, many a pulse
stopped beating forever, many a life went out.
The boat which succeeded in clearing the sinking vessel
and reaching Crescent City, contained the Third Mate, the
Steerage Steward, a Quartermaster, and fourteen others .
They arrived at Crescent City about four o'clock in the
afternoon of the same day, ^July 30th, 1865,^ and upon
their arrival, boats were immediately manned to proceed
to the scene of the catastrophe. They returned on the
same evening without being able to accomplish anything,
having seen no bodies. Early on the following morning,
two boats, under command of Benj. West and Anson Bui-r,
started out to make another effort to save life. But their
efforts were all in vain. Nothing was visiblein the shape
of wreckage or human bodies. On the same evening a
boat manned by the Third Mate of the Brother Jonathan,
Charles Brown, Charles Patterson and Davis, started
to Eureka to obtain assistance, but returned before reach-
ing that place. They reported that on their way back
. they saw portions of the hurricane deck of the steamer
drifting by, together with beds, trunks, etc., but saw no
bodies. The boat which had swamped on being launched
from the steamer, drifted ashore on the beach opposite
82 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
Crescent City, and a portion of the Ujiper work of the
vessel was afterwards found near Point St. George The
heel of her fore mast, 20 or 30 feet long, also went ashore
near the same place. A boat went up with two of the
crew to within a. short distance of Seal Rock, and when
thej returned they reported that they had seen people on
the rock. Other boats were immediately manned and
went up to the rock, but on arriving there discovered
that the objects supposed to, be men were only sea-lions.
A few days afterwards a boat-load went up and tried to
discover the place where the steamer went down. The
Quartermaster pointed out a rock, a small part of which
is visible at low tide, as the one on which she struck. The
rock was not on the charts, and bad never been known
before. It was supposed to be a part of the St George
Eeef, and was named "Brother Jonathan Rock."
Nine or ten days after the wreck, the bodies of the vic-
tims began to come ashore. Every day three or four
bodies would be picked up at sea by the boatmen, and
many were washed up on the beach in the vicinity of
Crescent City. Horrible discoveries were made in caves
and among the rocks. Dead faces showed white from
tangled seaweed, wild eyes stared up from shallow pools
left by receding tides.
As fast as they were secured, the bodies were taken to
Dugan & Wall's ware-house, and an inquest was there
held by J. E. Eldredge, Coroner, Fbrt_y-five bodies were
recovered in the vicinity of . Crescent Citj', and many
others were found at different points on the coast between
Humboldt Bay and the mouth of Rogue f?iver. The
bodies recovered here were buried in the Crescent City
cemetery. A number of them were afterwards removed
by relatives and friends and taken to other places.-
On the body of Mr. Nesbeth, editor of the San Francisco
Bulletin, was found a will, which stated that^it-had been
written in the cabin of the steamer just before she went
THE "BROTHER JONATHAN" 83
down. Who could help admiring the cool self-possession
of a man who could thus, in imminent peril of death, for-
get his own danger in the thought of those whom he
would leave behind him?
The number lost on the Brother Jonathan was between
eighty and ninety, and the treasure on board has been
estimated at $300,000, Col. Wright, commanding the Pa-
cific Coast Division G. A. R., was on board with a large
amount of money, with which to pay off the soldiers in
Oregon and Washington Territory, and Wells, Fargo &
Company also had a large sum on board. Other sums,
belonging to private parties, would have swelled the above
estimate to a much larger figure, had their been any
means of ascertaining their amount.
The Brother Jonathan, CajJtain DeWolf, was a side-
wheel steamship, about 1000 tons bu,rden, and was one of
the oldest steamers on the coast. She 'was at one time
esteemed one of the best boats on the Northern Pacific.
Several parties have at diiferent times endeavored to find
the sunken steamer, but have thus far been unsuccessful.
Old Ocean keeps well its secrets, and it is probable that
the lost steamer will forever be hidden from the eye of
man. A few articles from the wreck were recovered, and
are still preserved in Crescent City. The wheel (''which
was picked up on the beach a few days after the, wreck^)
is in the possession of Peter D'drliy; also a bundle of pa
pers, which was picked up by one of the boatmen.
Occurring fifteen years ago, it is yet fresh in the minds
i»f the people of Del Norte. On winter evenings, around
the family hearth-stoiie or in public places of reson, when
other subjects liave been exhausted, the wreck of the
Brother Jonathan is brought up again, and the story, with
all its horrible details, is discussed with subdued voices bj'
the older members of the circle, an.d listened to witli deep
interest l>y the younger ones. Nor is this the only way
in which the memory of the sad affair is kept alive. In
84 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
the cemetery at Crescent City, a number of grassy
mounds, with a decaying slab at the head of each, bearing
O SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF O
^ LOST ON THE BROTHER JONATHAN, JULY O
§ 30, A. D. 1865. §
serve as a perpetual reminder of the Brother Jonathan
disaster, and testify to the weakness of man as compared
with the power of nature.
The years between 1865 and the present time (^January
1st, 1881y' have j^assed awaj" with but little of interest
occurring, and the remainder of this history, down to
January 1st, 1881, will necessarily be disconnected and
meagre. Such incidents and facts as have been deemed
worthy of notice will be fouiid in the succeeding pages of
A high tide in 1866 did con8idera})le damage to property
at Crescent City. Several buildings were washed away
by the tide, including a jDart of a large brick warehouse
belonging to W. A. Hamilton, a warehouse lielonging to
Dugan & Wall, and Marhoifer's brewery.
On Thursday, September 12th, 1872, the tirst number of
the Crescent City Courier appeared. It was published and
edited by Walter B. Thorp. Its editor was young and
energetic, and the Courier was well gotten up and pre-
sented a neat appearance. Several years had elapsed
since the publication of the Crescent C'it}' Herald, and
THE SUNDAY LAW. 85
since that time the town and county had been on the
At last, however, the lumber trade was started here,
and from that time on a steady improvement in the con-
dition of the county was noticeable. There were no ex-
citing, feverish speculations in town lots and mines as in
days of old, but the trade of the county was based on a
surer foundation. The farmers throughout the county
were cultivating more land every succeeding year, and
but little produce was being imported.
Chrome was discovered about twenty miles north east
of Crescent City, on the Low Divide, and chrome ore soon
became a prominent article of export. The copper mines,
which had been discovered several years before, were idle,
and the capital with which to work them to advantage
was not forthcoming.
Some of the ladies and gentlemen of Crescent City or-
ganized a literary societj'' in December, 1872, having for
its object the mutual improvement of its members, and the
passing pleasantly away of the long winter evenings. It
is mentioned here by way of contrast with the present
condition of things in Crescent City. Then, the commu-
nity were public spirited enough to provide a place of
profitable resort at least one evening in the week. Now,
they are content to see the boys and young men of the
place frequent the saloons ^having no other place in which
to seek amusementjy/ and are apparently blind to the ad-
vantages which a I'eading room and literary society would
give the rising generation.
The monotony of Crescent City life was somewhat dis-
turbed in the beginning of the year 1873, by the attempts
made to enforce the provisions of the new Codes in relation
to keeping open places of business on Sunday. It had
been generally understood that on the first of January
some of the officials would try to enforce these provisions,
and u petition had been circulated and signed by fifteen or
86 HISTOUY OP DEL NORTE.
twenty citizens, asking that they should be enforced. The
first Sunday in January came on the 5th, and it is supposed
that the officers of the law were for once on the look-out
for offenders, for on the following Monday morning a
complaint was filed against David E. Shipman, for " a vio-
lation of the Sunday law by keeping his saloon open for
the purpose of transacting business on that day." Mr.
Shipman pleaded guilty, and had the pleasure of paying
the fees of the District Attorney, Justice of the Peace and
Sheriff. The next person engaged in the "unholy traffic"
arraigned before the bar of justice was Peter Darby, Esq.,
who endeavored to convince the zealous limbs of the law
ofthe error of th*eir ways, bj' standing u ti'ial. It was
then discovered that the new Codes had not been received,
and in view of that fact, the Attorney for the People went
on with the prosecution under the old law of 1861. Mr.
Darby was found guilty of a violation of that law, .tsnd he
too was compelled to contribute his mile in the shape of
fees to the District Attorney, Justice and Sheriff. Mr,
Smith, who kept a saloon in the City Hotel, was the next
in turn. Whether he was a descendant of the celebrated
John Smith is not' known; but it cannot be denied that his
unassuming modesty and honest truthfulness appeal
strongly to our admiration. He was taken before the
Justice, and stated that "he had only sold one drink, in
the morning, and that he had forgotten (?J that it was
Sunday." In view of this frank confession, Mr. Smith
was "let off easy "—by paying the regular fees. The
next and last victim "vVas John Richert, who stood a trial,
and was found guilty. This gentleman shared the fate of
the member of the Smith family, and m(»re too; for he
refused to comply with the request to empty thirty-one
dollars into the official pockets, and was therefore taken
into the charge of the Sheriff and lodged in jail. After
remaining in the county jail about twenty f'oui- hours, he
was released upon his friends paying the legal fees.
E-HB "OLD GUARD." 87
Considerable excitement was created by these proceed-
ings, and some indignation was expressed in regard to the
manner in which they had been conducted.
The " Old Guard " and their doings had long been a
standing joke with the Crescentonians, and they were not
surprised on receiving a notice that on Sunday, January
19th, 1872, there would be a meeting on Battery Point for
the purpose of devising some means to amuse the citizens
on that day. The public were not informed who would
be the orators of the day, but it was stated that it would
be attended by those who were not on intimate terms with
the Sunday law. On the following week a card was j)ub-
lisbed, purporting to come from "J. S. DeYoe, President
of the Old Guards," as follows:
" In accordance with custom, the Old Guard think it
proper to publish the results of their 64th anniversary,
which took place on Battery Point on Sunday last.
Pursuant to call, on Sunday morning at eleven o'clock,
the Guard repaired in full force to the Point, where they
becomingly commemorated the times of yore. The Guard
take this method of thanking all for their presence and
Financiall}^, the affair was a grand success, as the pro-
ceeds over and above all expenses amounted to 6 cents,
which sum is now on dejDosit with the undersigned, as a
relief fund for the county officers, fwiih three honorable
exceptions- — Clerk, Treasurer, and Coronei*,^) who are re-
quested to call and receive the same. If, however, they
fail to make their appearance within ten days, said six
cents, or such portion as is not then called for, will be
turned over to the school fund of the county. J. S. De-
In accordance with a published notice calling a meeting
of the citizens of Crescent City for the purpose of choosing
judges and clerks of an election to be held on the after-
noon of the tirst of March, to get an exjjression of the
HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
public sentiment as to the enforcement of the Sunday law,
a number congregated at the Court House on Saturday
evening, February 27, and chose the following officers of
election: Judges, Franklin Johns, Edgar Mason and Jas.
Harper; Clerks, Wm. Saville and J. E. Marhoffer. The
result of the election was an overwhelming vote against
the enforcement of the law. Of the 76 votes cast, 70 were
found to be in the negative, 3 in the affirmative, and 3
scattering. Of course, the only eifecL this election could
have was to reflect the sentiments of the community in
regard to the law. But this little breeze in the quietness
of Crescent City life soon subsided, and things resumed
the even tenor of their way.
General Ray, a gentleman from Carson, Kevada, arrived
at Crescent City in July, 1872, for the purjDose of inspect
ing the beach mines some four miles below the town. He
pronounced them the best he had ever seen for gold, plat-
inum and magnetic iron, and he expressed himself well
satisfied that they would return large profits to any party
undertaking to work them with the modern imj^rovements.
The mines wei'e then worked under the old process of
raining, viz; wheel- barrow, torn, and sluice, and conse-
quently a large amount of the mineral went to waste.
Several of these mines were lying doi'mant for want of
capital and suitable machinery to work them. The fact
of the richness of the beach mines, and the opi^ortunity
presented for the profitable investment of capital, were
more than once brought to the notice of parties who were
ready and willing to engage in the development of the
mines; but for ten years past Crescent City has been noted
for the "freezing out" process, by which all who will not
accede to the exorbitant demands of a certain class are
met with such opposition, and so many obstacles are
placed in their way, that it is impossible to invest capital
with profit to themselves. The enterprise and sagacity
that characterized the Crescent City merchants in early
THE BEACH MINES. 89
days has long since passed away, and many of the most
enterprising of her earlj- residents are either dead, or have
moved to other lands. The few who remain have lost the
vim and pluck of their younger days, and have fallen into
a deplorable " don't care " condition, neither beneficial to
themselves or the county. This is the plain, unvarnished
truth, and it will do no good to disguise it. And it is not
surprising that when a certain party, having a knowledge
of the modern methods of mining, and supplied with im-
proved machinery, proj)osed to work the beach mines ex-
tensively, he should meet with oppositon. The party ar«
rived on a steamer having on board the necessary ma-
chinery for working the mines, but learning that the part
of the beach he proposed to work had been "jumped" in
his absence, and that an exorbitant price would be de-
manded for it, he did not remove the machinery from the
vessel, and returned to San Francisco, leaving the would-
be speculators in mining claims to mourn their loss.
^or is this tendency to drive enterprising men to the
wall confined to mining. In many other ways is the en-
terprise of the town demonstrated to be of the wrong-
sort. True, there are always to be found men who are
willing to do all in their power to help along any project
for the material development of the town and county^
But there are not wanting as many more who meet the
enterprise with their opposition, and crush it out of exis-
A few minutes before nine o'clock on the evening of the
22d of November, 1873, the people of Del Norte county
experienced the heaviest shock of earthquake that had
ever occurred within their recollection. As near as could
be ascertained the vibrations were from South to North,
and continued nearly thirty seconds. The shock was so
great that it caused the fire bell and City Hotel bell to
ring, and houses bounced around as though they were
mere jumping jacks. All who found themselves able to
90 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
move rushed into the street in the wildest state of mind,
expecting every instant that their houses would fall to
the ground, and that a tidal wave would sweep them into
The damage to property in Crescent City was estimated
at S3, 000, and it was fortunate that so little damage was
It is said that fully one-half the chimneys in town were
more or less injured, and that the cost of repairing them
amounted to about S250.
- In Smith's Eiver Valley considerable damage was done,
nearly all the chimneys being shaken down. The shock
seemed to be the most violent on the sand hills, as large
cracks from six to eight inches wide were reported in sev-
At Happy Camp the shock lasted about twenty-five
seconds, and the rumbling noise accompanying it appeared
to sound as if it was running nearly North and South.
The wooden buildings rocked to and fro, and the tin pails
hung up in Camp k Co.'s store swung backwards and for-
wards at an angle of nearly 45 degrees with the ceiling.
Very little damage was done, however, except to the ner-
vous system of the iuhabitunts.
The shock was felt more or less severelj* at other places
in the county; in fact, curiosity regarding earthquakes
had been fully satisfied, and people had reason ever after
to be averse to visitations of the kind.
The spring of 1874 saw the usually quiet town of Cres-
cent City in a blaze of excitement, for it was thought that
silver mines of the richest kind had been struck, and that
a new Comstock would be located in Del Norte county.
The ore was found in the Myrtle Creek Mining District,
situated about twelve miles in a north-easterly direction
from Crescent City. The first discovery of the mineral is
alleged to have been made in 1871 by a man named Bla-
lock, who sunk a shaft and satisfied himself of the genu-
THE DISCOVERY OP SILVER. 91
ine character of the rock. He then covered up his devel-
opments, and for some reason or other kept the matter to
himself, neither making any effort to work the mine him-
self, or inform anyone of the quality of his prospect. The
faet of this discovery was kept a profound secret for over
three years, when in some way the matter leaked out, and
the consequence was the excitement above referred to.
The excitement in Crescent City was attended by the
usual scenes of a mining craze. Groups of men on the
street were exhibiting to each other the results of the nu-
merous tests of the rock which had been made, some say-
ing that they could find no silver, while others asserted
that it was $300 rock. A new mining district was formed
and the whole country in the vicinity of the first discovery
taken up. But this excitement, like many another in Del
Norte, soon subsided without any move being taken to
develope the newly discovered mines, 'i'he locators were
convinced that it required money to work quartz mines,
and they knew that they did not possess it. And instead
of making an effort to induce capitalists to give the project
of opening the mines their attention, tbey resumed the
usual routine of village life. The fact that silver bearing
rock had been found in Myrtle Creek District was believed
by all; but because of this neglect to bring the matter be-
fore men who were able and willing to invest in mining-
enterprises, the excitement was soon numbered with the
things " that were."
Mr. Gus. DeYoung, one of the DeYoung brothers who
have of late years brought themselves into public notice
as publishers of the San Francisco (Chronicle, paid Del
Norte a visit in the summer of 1874. He was then pub
lishing the "Commercial Directory of the Pacific Coast,"
and his visit was for the purpose of acquiring, information
for a Directorj' of Del Norte county. It was represented
that the Directory would contain "information of gienerai
interest pertaining to the commerciaiandindustrialinter-
92 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
ests of the county, a description of its general features,
and many other desirable matters of general interest."
Whether Mr. DeYoung interviewed the "oldest inhabitant''
in his search for information, or whether he was deficient
in geographical knowledge, is matter of conjecture; but
the certainty that the good people of Del Norte were con-
siderably surprised when they read the information in re-
gard to this county, is not open to doubt. For the " Di-
rectory of Del Norte county " located Crescent City on
the wrong side of the bay on which it is situated, and in-
formed the people of Smith's Eiver that their little village
was located on Table Bluff, Humboldt county. In conse-
quence of these blunders, the blessings that were showered
upon his head were innumerable, and that word descriptive
of the front part of a mill pond was many times prefixed
to his name. Perhaps the inaccuracy and absurdity of
the thing would no,t have been so universally noticed, had
it not been for the known enterprise and intelligence of
The Valedictory ot the Crescent City Courier, which
had been purchased by Mason & Tack from Walter B.
Thorpe, and published by them for a period of one year,
appeared in the issue of March 13th, 1875. The publishers
had probably found it up-hill work publishing a country
newspaper, and had thought it the better part of valor to
retire from the lists. The Courier did not remain long in
its coflSn. It was resurrected in November, 1875, by Silas
White, its present publisher and proprietor.
From that time Lo the present, January 1st, 1881, noth-
ing worthy of notice here has trans^jired. Trade has
remained about the same for the last five years, during
which time it has not been very active or large. Many
improvements have been made in different parts of the
county, noticeably in Smith's Eiver Yalley, where several
fine buildings have been erected. Crescent City and Hap-
py Camp have also improved of late years, and a disposi-
JANUARY 1st, 1881. 93
tion has been shown to rebuild old and decaying houses.
In closing this chapter we bring this history down to
the 1st of January, 1881. It has been endeavored to
present such incidents, occurrences and information in
the history of Del Norte as would be of general interest.
Hoping that it may prove more instructive, and equally
as interesting, we will now turn our attention to the
scenery, climate, inhabitants, towns and villages, business
houses and industries, commerce and trade, and the agri-
cultural, mining and lumbering resources of Del Norte
county — all of which will be described in as fair a light
and with as much accuracy as possible.
THE SCENERY, CLIMATE, AND INHABITANTS OF DEL NOKTB
The scenery of the Pacific Coast has always been a
prolific theme for the pen of the writer, and the pencil of
the artist has endeavored to transfer to canvass the beau-
tiful landscapes, mountain views, and ocean scenes that
meet the eye of the traveler in California. Its boundless
plains, its snow-capped mountains, its fertile valleys and
vine-clad hills, have inspired the admiration of the sight-
seer, the Muse of the poet and the genius of the painter.
The famous falls and peaks of the Yosemite challenge the
admiration of the world; the big trees of Calaveras are
famous the world over. And they would be still more
renowned, their beauties would have a wider and a greater
celebrity, were it not for the fact that just such scenes are
to be met with in a hundred different places in California.
The counterpart of Yosemite, though on a smaller scale,
may be seen in many places in the mountain ranges, and
the trees of the Calaveras grove find rivals innumerable in
the forests of the Northern Coast.
Many and varied as are the scenes to be met with in
California, they are nearly all represented in the little
SCENERY— CRESCENT CITY. 95
county of Del Norte. Here may be seen smiling fields
and lovely valleys, overshadowed by majestic mountains.
Here the forests form a dark and massive background to
valley, sea and town.
Sianding on Battery Point, on a summer afternoon, the
scene is beautiful in the extreme. Seaward, the setting
sun casts a lurid glare over the waters, and seems to be
going down in a blazing mass of fire; to the left and
right the ocean meets the view, perhaps dotted by a soli-
tary sail on the rim of the horizon, and with a long, trail-
ing column of smoke marking the course of an ocean
To the south, following the line of the coast, the first
objects apt to catch the eye are the red, glittering cliflFs of
Gold Bluff, in Humboldt county. Nearer, the rocks that
mark the mouth of the Klamath Eiver stand out in bold
relief to the cliffs beyond. To the north, Point St. (iieorge.
looking low and flat, juts out into the sea, with two or
three tall, huge rocks, rising like sentinels on either side.
Inshore, extending from Point St. George back to the top
of the foot-hills, is an immense forest of giant trees, their
rich green contrasting strongly with the high, barren
mountains beyond, the peaks of the Bald Hills appearing
clear and cold against the Eastern sky. Commencing at
Battery Point, the (^'escent shaped beach extends six
miles down the coast, its smooth, hard surface affording
an excellent drive at low tide. A wharf extends out into
the bay for the distance of a quarter of a mile, at which
vessels are taking on cargoes of lumber. Directly oppo-
site Battery Point, the Crescent City light-house, situated
on an island about one hundred yards from shore, presents
a pretty picture. It is a low, light-colored structure,
facing the bay; from its center rises a tower, in which at
eventide a revolving light guides vessels entering the har-
bor, and warns mariners at sea of the dangers of the rocky
coast. A short distance south of the light-house, two
96 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
large round rocks keep watch and ward over the bay, and
to the south-east of the anchorage, Whale Island, contain-
ing about ten acres, a part of which is covered with grass,
rises from the water to the height of a hundred feet or
more. Crescent City mars the effect of the picture some-
what, appearing from Battery Point more like a collection
of huts than a good-sized town.
Notwithstanding this slight defect, the whole scene is
worthy of the pen of a Muir or the pencil of a Rembrandt.
And it has always been a matter of surprise to me that the
prominent painters of the coast, who visit the gorges and
forests of Russian River, climb the steep sides of St. He-
lena, and see and appreciate the beauties of the Columbia
Eiver and the grandeur of Mts. Hood and Shasta, should
pass Del Norte by without notice. Perhaps its remote-
ness and inaccessibility has had something to do with this;
but I believe that a want of knowledge of the county has
been a greater cause for its neglect by those who, if pos-
sessed of a better know ledge of its attractiveness, Avould
iiot be slow in finding it out.
There are also many beautiful scenes in Smith's i^iver
Valley and vicinity. The little village of Del Norte is
situated in the center of the valle}', and in proportion to
its size is better built than any other place in the county.
Its white houses contrast pleasantly with the green fields
and forests, and the scene is one of a quiet, peaceful na-
ture. Walled in on two sides l\y the high mountains of
the Coast Range, which here reach their highest altitude
and wildest character, :ind shut oft' from the outside world
on the other sides by the forest and the ocean, the seiise
of isolation is so stronglj^ felt a^d so oppressive, that it
can never be shaken off by a person once used to the busy
life of thicklj^ settled communities and commercial centers.
But while the scene is fresh, and the place new to one, the
beautiful scenery claims the admiration it deserves, and
holds the eye of the stranger with fascinating power.
SCENERY— LOW DIYIDE. 97
Other places in the county possess as beautiful, if not
more beautiful scenery, especially the Low Divide. A
wagon road leads from the valley up the mountain to the
mines on the Divide, eight or ten miles from Del Norte.
From the summit the eye takes in a vast number of ravines
and gulches, while the fantastic shapes of the rocks and
cliifs indicate that they were thrown up by some great
convulsion of nature, ages ago, when the world was
young. And if the sense of isolation in the valley is op-
pressive and powerful, the feeling of desolation and lone-
liness with w4iich the view here impresses one is greater
and more powerful still. All around, on every hand, the
mouDtains are bare and bleak, while the solid, mighty up-
heavals of rocky heights are seamed all over with the
defacing marks left by the war of the elements, and at the
same time in their enduring grandeur seem to mock the
ravages of time. Precipices, almost perpendicular for a
thousand feet or more, make the head dizzy in viewing
their great de^jths. At the bottom of the ravines, trees
which from the top appear but tiny sapplings, are in
reality several feet in circumference,
At Altaville, the scene reminds one of the lead mines in
Missouri or Iowa. When copper and chrome was first
discovered at Altaville and the mines worked, the little
Lown was full of life and activity. Now it is deserted, and
but few of the buildings remain. Black mouths of tunnels
appear in the hill-sides,, and heaps of blueish colored rock
show the locality of the mines; shafts and mounds of dirt
indicate the place where the prospector expended his time
and muscle, and numerous. ravines, and hill-sides bear wit-
ness to the fact that prospecting Avas once extensively
carried on here.
Once seen, Altaville clings tenaciously to the memory.
It haunts one like a dream; the grand scenery of the sur-
rounding country leaves an impression on the mind which
time will not efface; and if the scene, with the indescriba-
98 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
ble quietness and peacefulness which give it its chief
charm, could be represented on the canvass of some of our
great painters, no doubt it would create an excitement in
the world of art; no doubt artists and lovers of art would
turn their attention to this long neglected region, and the
touristV tent form an object in many a landscape.
At Happy Camp, the scene has been thus described:
" The town is beautifully situated upon a large and level
flat. On the south, the Klamath Eiver, with its immense
volume ot water, sweeps past it in bouyant waves and
with a strong current, and on the west, cutting the town
in twain, the gurgling and babbling waters of Indian
Creek flow, and mingle with those of the Klamath, in
plain view of the town. Its natural attractions and its
salubrious climate are not surpassed anywhere. In the
spring and early summer, especially, owing to the luxuri-
ance of vegetation and the delicious coloring of the pine-
clad hills that surround the place, every scene in the
landscape looks so bewildei'ingly beautiful that no pen can
portray all its beauties, no one approach a just realization
of the many points of interest spread out on every hand."
And Happy Camp has seen times when the natural
beauty of the place was intensified by the myriad tires of
the savage blazing from every hill-top, the lurid glare
from which lit up the surrounding mountains, and caused
them to assume a fearful and wierd beauty; when the
dark recesses of the mountain gorges grew black and
hideous as a background to the gleaming flames; when
the Indians, resplendent in paint and feathers, flitted like
phantoms between the fires and the darkness beyond,
chanting their war songs and stirring the signal lights to
flash up brighter and brighter, sending their mysterious
meanino- far over the country, filling the hearts of the
whites with fear.
But that was long ago, and is now well-nigh forgotten.
Peace and good order reign supreme, and it can be truth-
SCENERY— HAPPY CAMP AND INDIAN CREEK. 99
fully said that no prettier picture can be found in Califor-
nia than this little mining town, set like a gem in the
midst of the niouutains.
On the various forks of Indian Creek are some magnifi-
cent scenes. The South Fork is the largest and most
turbulent, and its scenery the wildest and most picturesque.
The sources of this water-course are on the storm-worn
sides of Mount Poston, a lofty, barren peak in the Siskiyou
Eange, rising 10,000 feet above the ocean. The Happy
Camp correspondent of the Crescent City Courier in 1873,
thus describes the scenery on the South Fork of Indian
" Here Nature has piled up a heterogeneous mass of
mountains, covering their bases with dense forests, and
their sides and crests with granite rock, leaving their
accumulating waters to their own devices to find an out
let. This the waters of the South Fork have done by
tearing down the shoulder of a mountain here, wearing
away the adamantine sides of another there, forming vast
gorges, whose deep recesses and snow-covered sides a
vertical sun only could light up, and chasms whose depths
were appalling- — dashing, leaping, and foaming through
their self-made rocky bed, until they are caught by the
daring hand of man, and by judicious damming their wild
turbulence toned down and made to do duty in converting
trees into lumber. Again seized upon by the meddling
hand of man, they are conducted to a receptacle that
winds its serpentine course, like a monstrous reptile, on
the face of the mountains, now winding its course through
the dense growth of the primitive forest, now on the edge
of a frowning precipice, and anon it stalks with its spider-
like legs through intervening chasms, until the once leap-
ing waters come in sight of the swift rolling, far-journeying
Klamath, when they are again harnessed to do duty in
extrjicting the precious metal from the gravel flats oper-
100 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
ated upon by the Happy Camp Hydraulic Mining Co.,;
and then are allowed to escape,
' Flowiug f n and on forev^^r.
To the SI H or parent river ' "
The climate of that portion of the county near the sea-
coast, comprising Crescent City and vicinity, Elk Valley,
and Smith's Eiver Valley and vicinitj^, is in its general
character, very mild and healthy. Severe frosts are sel-
dom experienced, the heat in summer is not oppressive,
and although little or no rain falls during the summer
months, the close proximity of the ocean lends moisture
enough to the atmosphere to sustain the vigorous growth
of plants. The temperature is nearlj^ the same throughout
the year, there being but little difference between the
winter and summer months. During five months of the
year, from the first of November to the first of April, rain
falls almost incessantly, and occasionally furious wind
storms occur. The rain falls not the same every year,
some seasons passing away with comparatively little rain,
while others are remarkable for a heavy rain fall. There
is very little and sometimes no rain daring the summer
months, the only disagreeable feature being the blustering
winds which often sweep the coast. These winds are from
the north-west, and often increase to furious gales, felt
most disagreeably by the inhabitants. Smith's Eiver
Valley is somewhat protected by mountains on the north
and north-west, and therefore the force of this wind is
broken, and it does not make itself so disagreeably felt
there. Indeed, it is doubtful if the whole Pacific Coast
can offer a more delightful climate during the summer
months than Smith's River Vallej'.
Happy Camp is situated ninety miles east of Crescent
City,, in the Siskiyou mountains. The warm, gulf-stream.
CLIMATE-^-IN HABITANTS. 101
of the ocean, which has such a great influence on the
climate of the rest of the county., has little effect on that
of Happy Camp, and during- the winter season it is some-
times very cold there, snow frequently falling to a consid-
erable depth. The surrounding mountains are covered
with snow during a greater part of the winter, and the.
trail between Crescent City and Happy Camp is sometimes
covered to the depth of fifteen or twenty feet. During
the summer months, it is much. warmer than at Crescent
City, the heat of summer being more intense than the cold
of winter. -
Having thus given a brief description of the scenery
and climate of the county, we will now notice the
Who hail from all parts of the Union and from various
foreign countries, besides the native population, known as
Del Norte county has a population of 2,669. including.
Indians and Chinese, The last census shows that on the
first day of June, 1880, there were within the Twenty-
fourth Enumeral District of the Third Supervisor's District:
of California, comprising Crescent, Smith's River and
Mountain Districts, 1,980 inhabitants. Of this number
214 wei e Indians, 179 Chinese and 2 Negroes. In addition
to tlie above, there were residing in the so-called Klamath
Reservation 82 Indians. Of this number 32 were bucks
and 30 squaws over ten years of age, and 9 bucks and 11
squaws under ten years of age. The report of the Census
Marshal states that said Indians live b}' hunting, fishing
and working for the w^hites. In the District comprising
ilappy Camp there were 597 inhabitants, 57 of whom
were Indians, 230 Chinese and 5 Negroes. Total, 2,669.
The voting population is 697, and an examination of the
(Jreat Register discloses the f tCt that they came from Kast
102 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
and West, from North and South; from the forests of
Maine, from the tropical clime of the South, from the
Northern and Middle and Western states; and from the
far-off lands of Englaad, Australia, Nova Scotia, France,
Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden. Other
countries are also represented, and Del Norte may claim
as cosmopolitan a character as any county in the State.
Of the voters of foreign birth Ireland furnishes 51; Eng-
land and her possessions, includiug Wales, Canada and
Nova Scotia, 57; Germany, including Prussia, Bavaria
and Baden, 49; France, 5; Russia, 2; Australia, 2; Chili,
4; Scotland, 6; Switzerland, 5; Austria, 4; Sweden, 8;
Denmark, 5; Norway, 3; Mexico, 1; Spain, 1. Among
the occupations, farmers and miners take the lead, there
being 127 of each. Next come loggers, numbering about
75; next, carpenters, of whom there are 30, including
cabinet makers. There are 25 dairymen, and other occu-
pations are well represented.
The white population, as a class, are well-to-do, but
unfortunately for themselves are not overburdened with
that spirit of enterprise which has coutributed so largely
to the prosperity of other portions of the State. Morals
are no worse, and perhaps better, than in other counties
in the State. A criminal act is of rare occurrence, and
the Courts have but little business to attend to.
Of the Chinese population it is not necessary to say
much. We of the Pacific Coast are too well acquainted
with their vile habits, their thieving ways, and their con-
taminating influence, to render a description of the same
either interesting or profitable. There are in this county
about three hundred natives of the Flowery Kingdom, a
majority of whom are engaged in mining. The principal
part of these are at and near Happy Camp. Crescent City
has a Chinese population of between fifty and one hundred.
It is difilcult to estimate the Chinese population correctly,
because crowded as they are into filthy dens, there is no
THE CHINESE POPULATION. 103
means of estimating their number by the number of houses
they inhabit, and since the last census their number may
have been augmented or decreased without any perceptible
change in the appearance of Chinatown. As in every
town in which they congregate, they have sought the
most central part of Crescent City; and on the princij)al
streets of the town their sign-boards point the way to
wash-houses or dens of iniquity. As a general rule their
shanties are surrounded by mud, filth and garbage of every
kind— fit surroundings for such a degraded class. And
to crown all, the perfumes-— not of Arabia, but of China-
town— -the 1001 different and distinct smells of Chinatown,
rise up in one grand, overpowering stench. And to their
discredit be it said, those people of Crescent City who are
the loudest in their denunciations of the Chinese are the
veiy ones to give them employment. While crying down
the evil of Chinese immigi-ation, they lend it their aid by
cmiploying Chinese. '
There are seven Negroes in the county, but one of whom
resides at Crescent City. He is named after a celebrated
poet, Byron, and in politics is a " black fiepublican."
The native population, the Digger Indians, are worthy
of a more extended description. Their numbers are few,
and ihey are rapidl}' diminishing under the hand of disease
and death. And whatever their ancestors may have been,
it is cei'tain that Cooper's ideal is not to be found among
these Indians at the present time. But there are many
evidences that their ibrmerlife, in comparison with that of
to-day, was freer, happiei', tmd more independent. Like
all unlettered people, they have handed their history
down in traditions, moi'e or less superstitious, and tinged
with that belief in Good and Kvil Spirits which has always
found a place in savage minds. These traditions point
directly to the fact that years ago, before the white man
set his foot on their hunting grounds, the Indians inhabit-
infj; the Northern coast were brave in war, fearless in the
104 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
chase, independent, and possibly more intelligent than at
the present time.
And it is an interesting fact that contact with the whites
has served to sink them deeper and deeper into the mire
of sloth, ignorance and superstition. Their present life is
the most abject, the most degraded, that it is possible to
conceive. Living in filthy huts, they keep from starvation
by catching and drying salmon in the fall, and by killing
sea-lions A few of them also occasionally work a day or
two for the whites. Sometimes a dead whale comes
ashore on the beach, when the Indians come from far and
near and cut it up and carry it to their villages.
Their are several Indian villages in the county, the
principal one being situated near Crescent City. To one
not familiar with their way's, a visit to their village is full
of interest. The writer in company with several others,
visited the Indian village at ('resceiit City during the pro-
gress of a "ten night's dance."
We were carefully picking our way among the collection
of huts and mounds, toward the one in which the dance
was being held, when our attention was attracted by loud
and monotonous sounds issuing from a hut on our left.
We turned aside and approached this hut, where, we were
told, a "war-dance" was being conducted. Looking in
through the open door, ffov unlike the majority of their
cabins, this had a plank floor and a good -sized doorway,^
we saw a score or more of Diggei-s, of both sexes, fantas-
tically decked with feathers and bedizened with paint.
After the momentary lull caused by our presence, the In
dians joined hand^ and formed a ring, laul commenced a
queer kind of a hopping dance, at the same time uttering a
courre, guttural sound, interspersed with hideous yells.
Presently, a big buck, gay in feathers and bright paint,
darted into the ring, dancing from side to side, keeping-
time to the monotonous music, and then darted out again.
In a few minutes the same performance was gone through
THE INDIANS OF DEL NORTE. 105
with again, and we were informed that this was kept up
the whole night, without auj change or variation.
Proceeding to the hut in which the "ten night's dance"
was being held, we found that it, like most of the others
in the village, was built after the true Digger style. An
excavation had been made, sonieAvhat similar to a cellar,
and around the sides of this excavation had been placed
on end boards and plank, the dirt being thrown up against
them on the outside. Other plank had served to make a
roof, and a hole had been left in the middle of this to allow
the smoke to escape. In one end a small aperture did
duty as a door.
Stooping and entering through this hole in the wall, we
found ourselves in the midst of a curious scene. Around
a fire in the center of the dirt floor, was a motley collection
of Indians and white spectators. .At one side of the
room a long pole stretelievl fi-om one end to the other.
Behind ihis pole was a kind of platform or shelf, built
close to the wall; and on this shelf was something which
looked, in the indistinct light, so like a coffin, that an in-
voluntary shudder crept over one. It seems that when a
female of this tribe reaches the age of puberty, a ten
night's dance is held to invoke the blessings of the Great
Spirit upon her future Hie. A n-A in this box, which at first
glance we tO(dc to be a coffin, we were inibrmedthe object
of the ceremonies lay. With joi]ied hands, forming a line
in front of this box, outside the pole, v/ith their backs to
the fire, stood forty or fifty Indians, of both sexes. They
were bare to the waist, and stood as motionless as statues.
Suddenly a big buck at the head of the line uttered a low,
humming sound, and instant!}" the whole line took up the
note, at the same time slowdy swaying with one accord
from one end of the room to the other. The monotonous
sound incrt-ased in volume, gi-owing faster and faster as it
grew in. sound, the swaying bodies keeping time in their
vibrating motion, until it reached its greatest height.
106 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
when it slowly descended so low that ifc could scarcelj^ be
heard. Then the whole performance is gone through
with again, and this is kept up for ten nights in succes-
sion, without intermission or variation. On the morning
of the eleventh day the Indians form in rings of eight or '
ten, with one in the center, and in this manner dance
round and round until they reach the seashore, where
they plunge into the surf, cleansing themselves of sin and
dirt at one and the same operation.
Were it not for the unbearable fishy smell which per-
vades the hut, one might stay for hours watching the cu-
rious scene. And it would require a better pen than mine
to describe it as it deserves- the monotonous chant of the
dancers; the long, swaying line keeping time to the rude
music; the smoke from the fire lazily ascending toward
the aperture in the roof; the group of spectators; the
fire, fed by some savage hand, now flashing up brightly,
disclosing as if by a calcium light the bare backs of the
dancing Indians, the earthen w^alls, and the shelf before
which the dancers stand— now dying slowly out, trans-
forming the swaying bodies into ghostly forms, and
peopleing the shadowj^ coraers with dusky shapes of evil;
bringing visions of Dante's " Interno " vividly to the mind,
au'i impelling a glance toward the doorway, half expecting
to see. inscribed above it, '-Abandon hope, all ye who
The other principal Indian rancherias in the county are
situated at Happy Camp and Smith's River. There is
also an Indian rancheria on the Yontocket slough, which
empties into Smith's Eiver about a mile below the village.
The chief characteristics of all these Indians are filth,
superstition, ignorance and degradation, There are a few
exceptions as regards intelligence, but even the most
intelligent among them do not rise above the level of the
lowest of the whites. One of the Crescent City Indians,
the Indian Doctor, seems to be a sort of second Denis
THE INDIANS OP DEL NORTE. 107
Kearney, so easily does he dupe his followers. Whether
this particular M. D. resorts to politics, medicine, or
religion to pull the wool over the eyes of his people, I
know not; but I am inclined to think that he is a sort of
Priest among them, with power to cast out devils, forgive
sins, and by incantations and magical ceremonies " ©ure
all the ills that flesh is heir to."'
Perhaps the Doctor has borrowed some of his cunning
from his brethren of the Catholic Priesthood, for he evi-
dently makes free use of that most powerful factor in the
Catholic religion— -superstition. He is fond of promenad-
ing the streets of Crescent City with a string of little bells
jingling from his clothing, and a bone through his nose.
His face is like parchment, and his whole appearance is
that of an animated mummy. His eyes have a shrewd,
cunning expression, and he is possessed of more intelligence
than a majority of his tribe.
The customs of the Del Norte Indians are full of inter-
est, and if space permitted, a long account might be given
ot their manner of living and traits of character. They
have a code of laws independent of the laws of the whites,
which has probably been handed down from generation to
generation from time immemorial. The gist of their law
is, that one who does an injury to another shall suffer to
a like extent, and that money shall be the panacea to
smooth all wounded feelings, and compensate for all
wrongs less than murder. li' an Indian kills another,
whether right or wrong, according to their established
custom, his life must paj' the forfeit. If he wrongs
another, no matter how trivial the offence, he must make
amends to the sufferer by a liberal donation of "a la-ka-
chick," the medium of trade among the Indians.
From the fact that this Indian money has been used by
them as long as the whites have had any knowledge of
them, we may infer that when they were strong in num-
bers and divided up into many tribes, a considerable trade
108 HISTOEY OF DEL NORTE.
must have been carried on between them. Money sprung
from the necessity of commercial nations to possess a con-
venient representative of value, to facilitate trade and
business exchange between different countries; and as
the representative of property, it has existed among all
people and in many various forms. The Indian money is
a kind of shell, obtained from the ocean, and it is said to
be almost as hard to find as the white man's gold.
The Indians of this county have acquired but few of the
virtues of the whites and many of their vices. They
drink whiskey whenever they can get it, they will gamble
away the clothes from their backs, and they are not
excessively honest. They take a deep interest in the 4th
of July and election day. In fact, the Smith's River In-
dians have endeavored to imitate the whites by electing a
Chief, Lieutenant and Captain. The elections are held in
Brooking's Hall, Del Norte, and are conducted in the fol
lowing manner: Squire Brooking sits at his desk, a small
box at his right, a cup filled with black beans, white beans
and buttons at his left. The Indians are seated on the
benches in front of the Squire. Three candidates for
Chief announce themselves. Then Squire Brooking ex-
plains to them that the white bean stands for one ^naming
him^ the black bean for another, and the button for the
other. The Indians then walk up to the stand and each
place a bean or a button into the box, and when all have
voted the result is ascertained by counting the number
cast for each candidate. The defeated candidates look
almost as blue as their pale-face brethren who run for
oflSce and go up " Salt Eiver," and their successful oppo-
nents are apparently in high spirits.
The estimated number of Indians in the county is 270,
besides 82 on the so-called Klamath Eeservation.
A few years to come will see the last of these Indians,
who once roamed the forests and mountains of Del Norte
in large numbers, and who could then truly boast that
THE INDIANS OF DEL NORTE 109
they were "monarehs of all they surveyed." Flying be-
fore the march of civilization like chaff before the wind,
they have rapidly been reduced in numbers, until at the
present time, a mere remnant of the earlier tribes are left
to go down with the setting sun of their declining strength.
TOWNS AND BUSINESS HOUSES OP DEL NORTE COUNTY.
The following description of the towns and business
houses of the county has been prepared with a view to
accuracy rather than for effect. It has been said that " to
overestimate a thing is worse than to underrate it."
Fully impressed with the truth of this saying, I will not
attempt to give a false coloring to the condition of the
county or tlje enterprise of its business men. If the pres-
ent condition of the county is not what it should be, if its
trade languishes on account of the narrow-minded views
of its merchants,- it would be folly to cover up the fact by
an account ot enterprise which does not exist. The first
and most important place in the county is the county
seat, the town ol'
The tract of country in which Crescent City is situated
is somewhat remarkable by its location immediately at
the foot of the Coast Range of mountains, which elsewhere,
from San Francisco to Columbia Eiver, with few exeeptidns
rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean without leaving more
of low bench land than here and there a sandy beach, or
the bottom grounds of a river that finds an outlet in the
sea. On the right-hand, running due north with the
TOWNS AND BUSINESS HOUSES Oh' DEL NORTE. Ill
Humboldt meridian, is the Eedwood ridge, from three to
six hundred feet high, forming the first bank or tier of the
Coast Eange, which, after passing Smith's River, turn to
the left to close up again with the ocean.
That part of the plain, thus singularly isolated between
the mountains and the sea, on which Crescent City is sit-
uated, is thus described by N. Scholfield, a surveyor and
geologist, who passed along the coast in 1854, and whose
observations were afterwards published:
" Crescent City is situated on the southerly side of a low
promontory extending from the great Coast Eange; the
extremity of this promontory forms Point St. George, and
consists of table land, elevated some fifty or sixty feet
above the surface of the ocean. This table is underlaid
by igneous unstratified rock, which appears mostly in
boulders, as shown by the bluffs where they have been
denuded by the disintegrating action of the sea, and by
boulders composing a reef extending outward. On the
north side, this promontory consists of low sands, and in
the interior is a shallow laguna of considerable size. The
southerly side, at the site of the town, consists of low
timber land, scarcely elevated above the possible reach of
The harbor of Crescent Cit}' affords good shelter in
summer, when the wind generality blows from the north-
west; but it is open and unprotected against the southei'ly
gales which prevail during the winter months on this
coast, and which at times cause a heavy swell to set in
from the south-west, dangerous to vessels in the harbor.
It is conceded by all that this danger might be obviated
by closing up with arbreakwater the gap, half a mile wide,
between the headland of Crescent City (^Battery Pointy)
and the rocks south of it. Vessels can find good anchor-
age in five or six fathoms of water, and if needed improve-
ments to the harbor were made it would be safe at all
seasons of the year. The harbor has no bar, being an
112 HISTORY Ob' DEli NORTE.
open roadstead. It is situated 28^ miles north of Sau
Francisco, about midway between it and the Columbia
River. Eesolutions have repeatedly been introduced in
Congress for building a breakwater here, but have resulted
in nothing more than to cause the harbor to be surveyed
two or three times by the Government.
Perhaps the best evidence of the dangerous character
of the harbor during the winter months, and the necessity
for improvements, could be furnished by the Underwriters,
who lose large sums every winter on account of vessels
that part their lines and go ashore on the beach at Cres-
cent City. The smooth character of the beach saves
vessels going ashore there from becoming total wrecks,
but the heavy surf pounds them against the ground until
they sustain severe damage, costing large sums to repair.
Scarcely a winter passes away without seeing one or
more vessels on the beach here, and this of itself should
be enough to call for the aid of the (Government,
Although it is estimated that it would require $3,000,000
to build a complete breakwater here, a much less sum, say
$500,000, would suffice to make such improvements as
would render the harbor safe at all times.
Crescent City, as seen from the ocean, does not present
a ver}' attractive appearance. The buildings are nearly
all low, one story, or one story and a half, and as seen
from the deck of an approaching steamer, the town
looks like a collection of huts. The place improves on a
nearer view, and perhaps it is the grandeur of the sur-
rounding scenery which gives it such a dwarfed, poor
appearance at first sight.
It is well laid out and compactly built. The buildings
are nearly all of wood, superior lumber being manufactured
here for building purposes. Spruce and fir are mostly
used for building, redwood not being suitable for that
purpose. There are twelve brick buildings and one stone
TOWNS AND BUSINESS HOUSES OK DEL NORTE. He
Crescent City contains a population of about 1000, and
the district j)olls a vote of"305.
There are two churches,, one Catholic and one Metho-
Several secret societies flourish here, namely, the Odd
Fellows, Freemasons, Good Temidars and Ancient Order
United Workingmen. The Masons have a fine hall, the
largest building in town, and the order is in a prosi^erous
condition. The Odd Fellows have a strong lodge, and the
Good Templars are flourishing. The United Workingmen,
but recently organized here, are rapidly increasing in
numbers, and are likely to prove a, strong and prosj^erous
The schools of Crescent City are among the best in the
State, and :it the Centennial Exhibition in 1876, Crescent
City received credit for the best exhibit of work done in
the schools of C'alifornia. From the report of the public
schools of Crescent City for the month ending December
22, 1880, by H H. Heath, Principal, it appears that the
whole number of children enrolled in the school is 120,
viz: Enrolled in Principal's room, 33; enrolled in 1st
Assistant's room, 41; enrolled in 2d Assistant's room, 46;
total, 120. 'i'he total number of children in the count}',
between tive and seventeen years of age. entitled to
school money, is 477. The amount of school money ap-
propriated to Del Norte county in 1880 by ihe State
School Superintendent was §629.64, giving to each child
in the county 61.32.
Of the business houses of Crescent City, three are gen-
eral merchandise stores, one groceries and provisions,- one
fancy goods, books and stationery, two stoves.and tinware,
one boots and shoes, one harness and saddleryware, one
drugs and medicines, one bread and confectionery, and
nine saloons. There are two barber shops, two tailor
shops, one millinery shop, three shoemaker's shops, one
cabinetmaker's shop, two watchmaker's shops and two
114 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
blacksmith shops. There are two livery stables, and one
feed store. There are three hotels, and one restaurant.
The largest stores in Crescent City or in the county are
those of Hobbs, Pomeroy & Co., and J. Wenger & Co.
Both stores are in iire-proof brick buildings. In the I'ear
of Hobbs, Pomeroy & Co.'s store is a large frame ware-
house, with room for the storage ot many tons of
merchandise. The firm carry a ten thousand dollar stock
of general merchandise, besides doing a general commission
business. They have two other ware-houses, one stone
and one brick, where goods to be forwarded by them lo
the interior are stored. The company also own the Rlk
Eiver Mill and box factory, employing a large number of
men in the manufacture of lumber and boxes. This alone
is sufficient to give them a large trade, and together with
their other business foots up many thousand dollars a
J. Wenger & Co. carry a four thousand dollar stock of
general merchandise. This firm own the Lake Earl Mill.
The Crescent City Wharf and Lighter Company, John-
son & Malone, own the wharf at Crescent City. They
have in connection with it commodious ware-houses on
Front street, in which goods are stored till delivery.
Owing to the rocky character of the ground in which the
piles are driven and the heavy swell which strikes the
wharf during the winter season, a portion of it has been
several times carried away by the sea, and the owners
have been put to great expense in repairing damages to
the structure. The railroads of the Elk River and Lake
Earl mills extend to the end of the wharf, where vessels
load with lumber from the mills.
There are two new^spapers published in the county, the
Crescent City Courier, Silas White, editor and proprietor,
and the Del Norte Record, J. E. Eldredge, proprietor.
Mr. White, a stalwart Republican, publishes a neutral
paper, and the Record, published by a strong Democrat,
TOWNS AND BUSINESS HOUSES OF DEL NORTE. 115
is afraid to say so and supports no politics in particular.
The next place in the county worthy of mention is the
Nestled at the foot of the mountains, Del Norte, Smith's
Eiver Valley, forms a pretty picture. The houses are
white and new-looking, and contrast pleasantly with the
surrounding forests and fields. There are about thirty
houses in the village, most of them being well built and
handsome. There is a neat little church in the village,
built by the Methodists. The public school is taught by
two teachers, usually having an attendance of about fifty
There are in the place two general mercbandise stores,
one hojel, two blacksmith shops, one harness shop, two
shoemaker's shops, one variet}' store, one cooper shop,
one grist mill and three saloons.
.\bout four miles from Del Norte, near the mouth of the
river, a general merchandise store is kept by Mrs-. West-
brook, and half a mile further on, at the mouth of Smith's
River, is situated the Occident and Orient Commercial
Company's fishery and cannery.
Before observing the operations of the workmen in the
cannery, we will note its situation and surroun'dings.
Smith's Eiver, a clear, limpid stream, heading away off in
the Siskiyou Mountains, the snowy summits of the lofty
peaks among which it takes its rise being visible from
Happy Camp and vicinity, empties into the ocean a short
distance below the cannery. Near its mouth are a num-
ber of sloughs, branching out from right and left, and
during the fishing season these waters are literally alive
with salmon. The fishing season extends from the first
of September to the middle of November. A smooth,
level beach afibrds excellent facilities fer hauling seines.
IIG HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
and as the fishing is not interfered with by rapid currents
or obstructing drifts, it is an easy matter to catch and
handlfe the fish.
Let us DOW proceed to the beach near the mouth of the
river and watch the seine gang at their work. There are
from ten to fifteen men at this work, and their operations
are conducted in the following manner: First, a large
seine is taken out into the middle of the river in a, boat,
and another boat takes one end of this and moving in a
semi-circle lands the end on the beach some distance down
the river. The first boat then takes the other end to the
shore, and the men prepare to haul the seine. The seine
is made of heavy twine, the netting being too large to de-
tain the veiy small fish, and too small to allow the large
-ones to escape. The net is gradually hauled in to the
beach, and here and there iiitside the bobbing corks which
uphold it, a leap, a flash of silver sides and a dash of
spray, betray the ettbrts of a captive salmon to free itself
from the contines of the net. .Slowly it is hauled in by
the stroQg arij>s of the men, and as the two ends converge
and the semi-circle narrows and closes, the water is lashed
into foam by the crowding numbers of the finny tribe.
Large flat bottome:! boats are rowed alongside, and when
the seine is hauled m the fish are thrown into these boats.
The fisii caught weigh from five to sixty pounds. Loaded
in the lx)ats, the fish are taken to the cleaning room, a
small building extending out some distance over the river.
Here there is a chute which is lowered to the level of the
boats by a rope and pulley worked by steam power. It
is filled with fish and hauled up, when it empties itself on
the floor of the cleaning room. Five or six men then cut
and clean the fish, when they are taken to the cutting-
room. In this room they are placed upon a machine hav-
ing six large knives, equal distances apart, and cutting-
pieces to the right lengths for cans. These lengths are
then passed to a table where they are split up ready for
TOWNS AND BUSINESS HOUSES Ob' DEL NORTE. 117
the filling department. In the filling department about
twenty men are emploj'ed in filling the cans. On each
side of a long table the fillers are ranged, and after seeing
the operation of can filling but few would have a taste for
canned salmon. The men employed in this work at the
Smith's Kiver Cannery are nearly all Chinamen, and the
disgusting manner in which they cram the pieces of fish
into the cans with their claw-like fingers is enough to
sicken any ordinarj- mortal. After being filled the cans
are taken to the soldering machine. This jittle machine
does more work in a day than twenty men would do in
the ordinary wixj in the same time. A small furnace rests
on the floor, and on top of this furnace is a groove filled
with solder, kept hot by the fire in the furnace beneath.
At the left of this furnace is an inclined plane, connecting
with the groove, over which is a receptacle from which
acid drops on the cans. At the right, of the lurnace four
wires stretch from the grooves across the room, the third
wire being lower than the others. The cans are first
placed on the inclined plane, when they roll across the
furnace, the bottom edge resting in the groove, passing
through the hot solder on to the wires, from which they
are taken and carried to the stoppers. The duty of the
stoppers is to stop the vent-hole in the cans, which they
do by the use of fire-pots and irons. There are fifteen
men in the sto])per s depariment, who daily stop the vent-
holes in ] 0,000 cans. I'he cans are next taken to the
testers, who put them in icon coolers, each holding 120
cans, which they lower ly means of a pulley into a cook-
ing kettle. This kettle holds five coolei-s, and is filled
with water heated to a boiling point by steam-pijDes lead-
ing from the boiler room. If the smallest possible hole
happens to be in a can, the contents will fly out through
it on being subjected to the action of the boiling water.
After being tested the cans are again lowered into the
cookini;; kettles, and allowed to remain five hours and a
118 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
half, which is sufficient time to thoroughly cook them.
When the evoking process has been gone through with,
the cans are placed in a tank filled with lye, to take off the
grease, after which they are dipped into a large tank of
cold water, and then taken to the cooling room. When
they are thoroughly cool they are ready for the process
of lacquering. This consists in dipping the cans into a
compound, half asphaltum varnish and half turpentine.
This compound is known as Egyptian lacquer, and is used
to prevent the cans from rusting. It gives them a light
gold color. It requires fifteen or twenty minutes to dry
the cans after this process, when they are ready for the
final process of labeling. This is done by women and
girls. A bright girl can label 2,000 cans in a day. In the
casing room three men case up the cans, each case holding
four dozen, and they are now ready for shipment.
There has been a fishery at the mouth of Smith's Elver
for over twenty years, but the present extensive canneiy
was established only a few years ago, the fish having foi-
merly been put up exclusiveh' in barrels. In 1877, Wni.
Fender, the owner of the property, leased it to the Occi-
dent and Orient Commercial Company, for a -term of ten
years. Since the above named company came into pos-
session of the propert}^ they have expended nearly S8,000
in improvements. The main building is 200 feet long and
60 wide. The mnchihery in use in the cannery is of the
best make, and everything is conducted in an economical,
business like wa}' which cannot tail to insure success.
The average catch offish is from 100 to 1,000 at a haul,
and as mau}' as 1,500 have been caught at one haul of the
seine. The capacity of the cannery is 10,000 cans per day.
The number of hands employed during the fishing season
is from 60 to 75, and the wages paid are from SI to 82 a
During the season of 1880, 158,750 cans, or 7,000 cases,
and 300 barrels were put up, which were worth in the
TOWNS AND BUSINESS HOUSES OP DEL NORTE. 119
San Francisco market: Cases, $6 per case; barrels, f5
per barrel; making the value of the whole, §43,500.
Some difficulty is at present experienced in shipping
the goods to San Francisco. The enti'ance to the river is
dangerous for either sailing vessels or steamers, on account
of sunken rocks in the channel. An appropriation of five
or ten thousand dollars, applied to the improvement of the
mouth of the river, would be sufficient to make a safe and
easy entrance. And when the wise Solons who are sent
to represent Northern California in Congress devote less"
of their time to making buncombe speeches and advocating
measures as foreign to the interests of their constituents
as China is to Maine, we may hope that something will be
done for the improvement of the mouth of Smith's Eiver.
If the needed improvements were made to the river, not
only would the fish from the cannery be shipped, but lum-
ber from inills on the river, minerals from the Low Divide
and produce from valley farms would also form a portion
of the exports.
There are only three villages of any importance in the
county, ihe third being
Situated ninety miles east of Crescent City. It is built on
both sides ot Indian Ci-eek, near its junction with the
Klamath Hiver. Surrounded by mountains as it is, the
only means of reaching it being by mountain trails, it yet
has a thriving trade. The country around it is rich in
mineral wealth, and a large capital is invested in raining
There are four stores at Happy Camp, three kept by
white men and one by Chinese. They deal in general
merchandise such as miners and farmers need. There are
two hotels and two saloons. The stores do a large busi-
ness, and it is said that they pay annually freight charges
120 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
to the amount of twelve or thirteen thousand dollars in
The above comprises all the business houses in the
county, with the exception of a few cooper shops in Smith's
River Valley. In the next chapter the lumber resources
of the county will be considered, and the mills described.
THE LUMBER RESOURCES OF DEL NORTE COUNTY,
From the southern Hue of Del Norte county, extending
to the dividing line between California and Oregon, is a
vast forest of the finest timber in the world. This belt of
timber reaches from the shore of the ocean from ten to
twenty miles back into the interior. The variety is mostly
redwood, spruce and fir, though some cedar is found at a
distance from the coast. The trees are of immense size,
many of them being from ten to fifteen or twenty feet in
diameter. It is almost impossible to estimate the amount
of this vast body of timber, or the wealth which it will
yet bring to Del Norte, Already the manufacture of
these giants of the forest into lumber is becoming the
chief industry of the county, and in the near future Del
Norte will export more redwood, spruce and fir than any
county in the State. Other lumber counties in California
are fast losing their forests and will soon have no lumber
to ship. The lumber business hei-e is just in its infancy.
The lumber now sawed is but a trifling araouni to what
will be cut in a few years to come. Its future value to
the county cannot be overestimated. The capital now
lying useless in city banks will in a tew years find a safe
investment here. For it is certain that as the production
in other parts of the State decreases, more attention will
be directed to the forests of this county. A short time
122 H18T011Y OF DEL NORTE.
ago the San Francisco Bulletin, reviewing the lumber in-
terests of the Pacific Coast, said:
'' The redwood and sugar pine forests of California are
of great value, and, in the near future, must rank among
the three or four greatest resources of our State.
" California redwood is now laid down in Denver, Colo-
rado, though the freight charges on the Union and Central
Pacific railroads are S250 per car-load of ten tons. But
clear redwood, costing $24 per thousand in San Francisco,
still manages to compete on favorable terms with pine cut
in Colorado gulches, and with white pine brought from
" Indeed, it is only a question of a few years when the
forests of the Pacific Coast will be taxed to their utmost
resources to supply the demands made upon them. Those
who purchase timber lands at the present time are wise in
their generation. The forests seem wide, and even inex-
haustible; but how much of the great forest belt along
the Atlantic is left to-day? It is among the coming events
that the tallest pines of Puget Sound shall fall; the deep-
est forests be pierced .with the steam saw and engine,
which are taking the place of axemen and loggers. Agri-
culture, mines and forests are the three j)illars of the
future, and the interests of the lumber trade appear likely
to receive a mighty impetus within the next decade.
''A compar-atively slight lowering of freight charge-^
would enable Pacific Coast lumber to be laid down in Chi-
cago at a profit, and thus inaugui-ate a business of con-
stantly widening dimensions, giving employment to thous-
ands of men, and building up cities in places now covered
with thick forests.''
The timber lands in Del Norte county that may easily
be made available are estimated as follows: Elk Valley,
24,.300 acres; Smith's Paver, 51,200; Mill Creek, 48,000;
Klamath Eiver, 11.5,200; making a total of 238,700 acres.
This estimate includes only those sections of timber land
LUMBER BESOURCES— LAKE EARL MILL. 123
that may easily be made available. Taking the low esti-
mate of 250,000 feet of timber to the acre, the above area
would represent a total of 59,675,000,000 feet.
Calculating the number of working days in saw-mills at
300 per annum, and limiting their capacity to 25,000 feet
per day, these forests would furnish material: To one
saw mill, for 8,525 years; to five saw-mills, for 1,705 years;
to ten saw-mills, for 853 years; to twenty saw-mills, for
The dimensions as well as the kind of timber growing
in this section, preeminently fits the same for ship building
purposes, and this industry will some day occupy an im-
jDortant position here.
There are at present five saw-mills in the county, with
a capacity of 31,500,000 feet per annum.
The vast lumber resources of this county were left ap-
parentl}' unnoticed and absolutely unheeded until the
year 1869, when a meeting of the citizens of Crescent City
was called for the purj^ose of taking steps toward the
manufacture of lumber. At this meeting a company was
formed, having in view the building of a large steam saw-
mill, to cut lumber for exportation. Work was immedi-
ately commenced, and, chiefly through the unremitting
personal energies of Jno. H. Chaplin and J. Wenger, Sr,,
within a few months a mill was completed. The mill is
called the Lake Earl Mill, and is situated about three
miles north of Crescent City, on a large Lagoon known as
Lake Earl. The Lagoon is some ten or twelve feet deep,
and is separated from the ocean by a narrow strip of sand
beach, through which the water filters, and some say that
the ebb and flow of the tides are perceptible on the lake.
It frequently happens in winter, when the waters of the
lake have accumulated to an unusual height by continued
rains, that it breaks through the narrow barrier into the
ocean ; at which times it nearly empties itself and assumes
the appearance of an extensive swamp. A slongh once
124 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
stretched from the Lagoon across the low timbered land
to Smith's River, which leads to the supposition that at
some former period the river emptied into the lake.
Owing to the fact that the Lagoon, as stated above, is
liable in times of high water to break through its banks,
leaving but a few inches of water, and rendering it impos-
sible to float logs, the Lake Earl Mill has been forced to
remain idle four or five months in the year. Many
schemes were devised to remedy this draw-back. A
flume and gates were built at the mouth of the Lagoon,
but failed to stand the force of the floods. Then a ditch
was dredged out in the lake through which to raft logs
to the mill. This project was also abandoned, as the
shifting mud and sand in the bottom of the lake soon filled
the ditch up again. Last year a dam was built across the
head of the lake, about a quarter of a mile below the mill,
with gates so constructed that during the rainy season the
surplus water can be let out. Inside this dam there is
always sufficient water to float the largest logs. It will
easily hold 3,500,000 feet, enough to keep the mill running
nearly the whole year. The mill is connected with the
Crescent City wharf by a railroad.
The capacity of the Lake Earl Mill is 32,000 feet per
day. The lumber sawed is mostly spruce The mill runs
double circular saws, besides edgers, slab saws, planers,
etc. The circular saws are 64 and 60 inch. The men
employed in the mill number 30; in logging camp, 30;
total number of men employed, 60. The wages paid are
from $26 to ^75 per month and found.
From January Ist, 1880, to January 1st, 1881, the Lake
Earl Miil sawed 4,000,000 feet of lumber, 500,000 feet of
which was sawed for home consumption, and the remain-
ing 3,500,000 feet shipped to San Francisco. The value of
this lumber was 130,000.
J. Wenger, Sr., one of the owners, is Superintendent of
the mill. It is thought that since the dam has been con-
LUMBER RESOURCES --ELK RIVER MILL. 125
structed across the head of the lake, thus insuring a suffi-
cient quantity of logs to keep the mill running a greater
part of the year, the annual product of the mill will be
largely increased. Before the dam was built, it was
imj^ossible on account of low water to raft enough logs to
the mill to keep it running. As it is now the logs can be
rafted to the head of the lake during high water and se-
cured inside the dam, from which they are drawn into the
mill by steam power.
The largest mill in the county, and one of the finest on
the Pacific Coast, is the Elk Eiver Mill, at Crescent City.
Winding down through a low, marshy prairie for several
miles, is a small creek called Elk Eiver, emptying into the
ocean in the lower end of town. On this creek, a short
distance above its mouth, the mill and connecting box
factory are built.
The Elk River Mill was built in 1871, and is owned by
the firm of Hobbs, Pomeroy & Co. The mill is two stories
high, the upper story being occupied by the saw-mill, the
lower story by the box factory; an engine-room on one
side of the main building. Elk Eiver, the creek before-
mentioned, brings the logs down from the woods, about
three miles away. The creek is about five feet deep, and
logs nice feet in diameter can be rafted to the mill, those
larger than that being split in the woods. Arriving at the
mill, the logs are hauled up an inclined plane by steam
power, the whole work being controlled by one man.
They are then given in charge of the head sawyer, who,
by means of levers and pulleys, turns them onto the car-
riage at his pleasure. While being sawed the logs are
moved on the carriage by screws, turned by one man.
The mill runs triple oi^'cular saws, the first a 64-inch saw,
the second a 60-inch, and the third a 50-inch saw; also, a
21-inch horizontal. There are also on the mill floor a 50-
inch ponj'', one edger, one slab saw, two trimmers, one
picket saw, one lathe saw and one planer. The planing
126 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
machine is worthy of special notice. It can plane from
10-inch lumber to a small moulding. Its capacity is as
follows: Surfacing, from 15,000 to 18,000 feet per day;
tongue and grooved, 13,000; rustic, 12,000.
H. A. Peeples is Superintendent of the mill. It has
been under his supervision for about one year, and during
his management manj^ improvements have been made.
The planing-room has been enlarged, and the large planer
now in use was put in to replace two smaller ones. Mr.
Peeples has had the new machine placed in a diiferent
position from the others, and the room for piling lumber
designed to be run through the planer has been increased
two thirds. Formerly, the lumber, after passing through
the planer, was carried from the machine and mm through
a chute to the yard. This unnecessary w^ork has been
avoided by placing the new machine in such a position
that the lumber may be run directly from it into the yard.
Another improvement has been made in the manner of
working up lumber into pickets. Formerly, the lumber
being first sawed above, was then run through a chute
down stairs, carried to a saw, and after being worl^ed up
into pickets carded out into the yard. The necessity for
this unnecessary work has been obviated by placing on
the upper floor a saw" in such a position that no unneces-
sary carrying of timber is required, and the pickets are
loaded on cars and run directly from the saw to the yard.
Other improvements to the mill are contemj)lated, among
them the replacing of the screws now used b}^ steam
head blocks. The present mode of turning screws is very
heavy work, and but few men can do the work for any
considerable time without losing health and strength.
One man can easily handle the head.-blocks, by means of
a lever and steam power. It is also intended to rej)lace
the edger now in use with a Steam's gang edger.
The capacity of the mill is from 45,000 to 50,000 feet
per day. The greater part of the lumber sawed is spruce
LUMBER RESOURCES— ELK RIVER MILL. 127
and redwood, only a small amount of fir being sawed, and
that for home use.
The box factory occupies the lower floor of the building.
The most of the boxes made are bread boxes, next sugar
boxes, next boxes for canned goods, made for the packing
house of Cutting & Co., San Francisco; also a large]]num-
ber of coifee and spice boxes. The box factory turns out
from 1,500 to 2,000 boxes of all kinds per day, and its
management requires a man who has been years in the
business, and who understands every particular in regard
to the box trade. Chas. W. Blake, the Sui^erintendent,
has occupied his present position for over four years, and
is evidently the "right man in the right place."
It is interesting to watch the progress of the lumber
from the time it is taken from the yard till it is put up
ready for shipment to San Francisco as box material. The
lumber used for boxes is mostly spruce, though a few red-
wood boxes are occasionally made. The lumber is first
taken from the mill up stairs to the 3'ard, where it is left
to dry. From four to six weeks is sufficient for this pur-
pose, and it is then loaded on cars and taken into the fac-
We will follow a car load as it is taken in by the men,
and observe the various processes through which it passes.
Just inside the door is a circular saw, called an edger, and
the lumber is unloaded within a few feet of it. Then the
sawyer places one end of a plank on the table of the saw,
and pushing on the other end drives it across the table,
where it is caught by his assistant and pulled through,
the saw taking oft' an edging of any desired width. It is
then passed on to the man at the planer, who runs it
through the machine, after vvhich it is taken to a cut-oft'
saw and cut into right lengths for boxes. These lengths,
an inch and a half thick, are then placed on trucks and
wheeled to a self-feeding, re-splitting machine, and after
being split by this machine are passed to the packers.
128 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
The packers press and tie inta bundles called shocks the
sides, tops and bottoms. The ends are nailed with light
One million feet of lumber from the yard is yearly
■worked up in the factory into boxes. Besides this, 250,
000 feet of slabs and waste lumber from the mill are annu-
ally worked aj) into sugar boxes and small bread boxes.
This is all v.'orked up while green, and is then piled in dry-
houses and in the yard until dry, when it is put up in
shooks like the others, ready for shipment.
The machines and saws in the box factory are: Three
large splitting saws; one self-feeding re-splitting machine;
two small saws for general use; two cut-off saws; one
horizontal 42-inch header; two planers, one a double sur-
face, and the other a single-surface; and one edger, also
used for splitting.
The motive power of the mill is furnished by an engine,
20x24 inches. Another engine, 12x14, furnishes power to
the box factory. There is also a very small engine for
lathe work. Four tubuhir boilers furnish steam to these
engines, and are each 54 inches in diameter, 16 feet lojig,
with 50 3-inch tubes. A small boiler is to be added, for
the purpose of supplying the lathe engine with steam.
The number of men employed is: In mill, 50; in box
factory, 20; in logging camps. 30; total, 3 00. Wages,
from §20 to 875.
From the 1st of January, 1880, to the 1st of Januarj^,
1881, the Elk Giver Mill sawed 0,000,000 feet of lumber,
and the box factory worked uj) 1,25<\000 feet into boxes.
Yalue of lumber sawed, §60,000.
A iron track railroad, one mile in length, extends from
the mill to the end of tlie Crescent City Wharf.
Hobbs, Pomeroy & Co. own 1,600 acres of available
timber land. ISIearly all the lumber cut by the Elk Elver
Mill is shipped to Hobbs, Pomeroy & Co.'s box factory in
San Francisco, the largest box factory on the Pacific
LUMBER RESOURCES— ELK RIVER MILL. 129
Coast. The lumber is there worked up into boxes to fill
transient orders, the boxes made in the Crescent City fac-
tory being principally stock. Yery little spruce from this
mill is placed on the market as lumber, almost the whole
of it beiilg used in the manufacture of boxes.
As the box factory in San Francisco is connected with
that at Crescent City and owned by the same company, a
brief description of it will not be out of place here. It is
situated on the block bounded by Beale, Market and Main
streets. The building occupies nearly a whole block, be-
ing 300 feet long and 45 feet wide, and has entrances from
Beale and Main streets. It is three stories in height.
Upon the first floor the rough lumber is cut into suitable
condition for box material, and it opens out into a large
3'ard where an extensive supply and great variety of lum-
ber is kept. This floor contains a steam engine, three
planing machines and nine circular saws, besides other
smaller machinery. In this department a large force of
men are employed. If an order for a hundred cracker or
shoe boxes is received, they could be put through the
machinery on this floor in about two hours, and be ready
for delivery an hour later.
A n order for a lot of boxes first goes from the office to
the foreman of this floor; he estimates the number of feet
of lumber required to fill it; the order is then passed on
to a man in the ysird, who selects the lumber; thence
with the lumber to two others, who edge ofl" the boards;
thence the boards go along to the planing machine, thence
to three men who cut them into proper lengths with a
circular saw; thence to the men who re-saw, or split them
into thinner boards, by means of self feeding re splitting
machines; thence they are piled upon the elevator and
sent up to the second and third floors.
■ Upon these floors the parts of boxes are first placed, the
ends by themselves, the sides also, and are then nailed
together and stored awity, or delivered to order from slides
130 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
running out into Main or Beale streets. Ten or fifteen
tliousand boxes are kept constantly on hand. About 75
men are employed.
The nail bill of the establishment amounts to over |500
per month. Until quite recently boxes were hailed by
men, a rapid nailer constructing 100 per day. But the
inventive genius of the age has come to the aid of the box
manufacturers, and they now have nailing machines, each
of which do the work of six men.
The shooks sent down from the factory at Crescent
City are put together by these machines. The box trade
is constantly increasing, and probably in a few years will
warrant the enlargement of both factories.
The Smith's Eiver Mill is situated twelve miles from
Crescent City, on the banks of Smith's Kiver. It is run
by water jDower and is capable of cutting 5,000 feet per
day. All of the lumber cut by this mill finds a ready sale
in home markets.
The Big Flat Mill, owned by the Big Flat Gold Mining
Company, was built for the purpose of sawing lumber for
use in the mine, and is situated on Growler Gulch, Big-
Flat. Logs are hauled down the gulch and up a skid
road. The lumber is carried to the ditch by an endless
wire-rope elevator, run by an undershot water wheel.
In addition to the above named mills, there are three
small mills near Happy Camp which sav\" lumber for home
consumption, each cutting about 5.000 feet per day.
We have had the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the
Iron Age; and we have now entered upon the Wooden
Age. And it is an interesting subject to calculate the
length of time the forests will last at the rate they are
being consumed at the present time. It has been asserted
that it will be but a few years before the builders of the
nineteenth century will be forced to find some other ma-
terial for building purposes, This may be true of certain
portions of the country, but it can hardly apply to Del
LUMBER RESOURCES. 131
l^orte. There is enough timber in this county to keep a
dozen large mills at work for a thousand years. The only
things necessary to make this the most important lumber-
ing point on the Coast, are a good harbor, a liberal
investment of capital, and more enterprise on the part of
its citizens. The annual production of lumber in Del
Norte county is at present about 11,500,000 feet, and there
is no reason why it should not reach ten times that
THE MINERAL RESOURCES OF DEL NORTE COUNTY.
Gold mining in Del Norte county has been steadily and
successfully pursued since 1851, and it is at present the
most important of its industries. The placer diggings on
Smith's River and on the Klamath, the black sand on the
ocean beach, and, more especially, the extensive hydraulic
mining carried on in the region of Happy Camp, all dem-
onstrate everywhere in this section the presence of gold
in paying quantities.
Happy Camp is the only section of the county that has
yet received any benefit from capital. A large amount of
money has been invested in Happy Camp mines, and they
are now being worked on a profitable basis. Most of the
mines there have been worked for years, and have always
yielded a good retui"n tor labor and enterprise.
The most important mine in the Happy Camp District
is that of the Del Norte Hydraulic Mining Company, S.
S. Richardson, Superintendent. The diggings of this
mine are situated a mile above Happy Camp, on a large
flat, A ditch over ten miles long, and five feet wide at
the bottom, conducts water from Elk Creek to the mining
ground. This ditch has proved very expensive to the
owners. Owing to the light and porous nature of the
ground through which it passes, it requires continued
MINERAL RESOURCES— GOLD. 133
"puddling" to keep it from leaking; and it frequently
breakb down during the winter season. The outlay of
capital in the Del Norte Hydraulic Mine has been about
150,000. A small saw-mill has been erected on the com-
pany's ground, for the purpose of sawing lumber for their
own use. About 25 men are employed in this mine.
The Happy Camp Mine, Ferguson & Frazier, owners,
is situated upon Chauey's Flat, a large flat that has an
unbroken gold-bearing deposit of hundreds of acres. The
owners have a full head of water, and employ 12 men,
piping all the gravel, boulders, etc., through their sluices
that the water will carry off. The company also own a
The other important claims are the Wingate Hill Hy-
draulic Mine, owned by Temple and Childs, work 12 men;
Bunker Hill Hydraulic Mine, owned by Temple & Chilis,
employ from 5 to 10 men ; China Bank Hydraulic ]\Iine,
owned by J. K. Eeeve, employs from 8 to 12 men— -has a
valuable saw-mill; Muck-a-muck Hydraulic Mine, works
from 5 to 18 men. Besides these mines, there are various
river bar claims, worked and owned principally by China-
There are several mines in the vicinity of Happy Camp
now lying idle, which only need capital to make them
paying properties. Near Happy Camp, and on Indian
and Clear creeks, a million dollars might be profitably in-
vested in mining. Point Lookout, an old mining locality,
was several years ago worked with various success by
many parties. Indian Flat, another old mining locality,
is situated on the other side of the Klamath and almost
directly opposite Point Lookout. Between it and Muck-
a-muck Flat, a distance of six miles, is a continuous range
of gold-bearing gravel dejjosits, extending at some points
several miles back from the river. "When capital shall be
brought to bear upon these localities, rich returns are
almost sure to follow.
134 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
Various places on the different forks of Indian Creek
long since abandoned by those who had to depend upon
their own strong arms to wrest the gold from the hard
cement and adamantine rock, can be made to j)aY well by
the use of improved machinery, and under the supervision
of practical miners.
The gold mining districts comprising Big Flat, Haynes
Flat and French Hill will prove to be the richest in the
State, should they ever be properly develoj^ed. The Big
Flat is the richest of these localities, and miners have
worked there more or less since 1854. Owing to the dif-
ficulty of i^rocuring water with which to work the vast
gravel deposits of Big Flat, comparatively little gold has
been taken out there of late years. In 1877 Harry Har-
vey, H. Mulkey and Captain Fauntleroy located claims
there. Messrs. Mains and Hickock also had claims there.
In 1878 the Big Flat Gold Mining Company, commonly
known as the Boston company, bought forty acres of
ground from John Mains and worked during the first win-
ter with the gulch water, and the following spring they
commenced a ditch, seven miles long, from Hurdy Gurdy
Creek. The ditch was soon completed to Growler Gulch,
at which place they commenced mining during the month
of March, 1880, at the same time continuing the ditch from
that place to the ground bought from Mr. Mains. They
used a No. 5 Giant, running about 1200 inches of water.
For a time all w^ent swimmingly. The Big Flat Com-
pany's principal place of business was at San Francisco,
but it also had an ofiice in Crescent City. Work at the
mine was api3arently prosecuted with great vigor, and the
community were confident that the Big Flat Gold Mining
Company were rolling in wealth, and fortunate was the
man w^ho got a position in the mine. But observant peo-
ple after a while noticed, that it,required several clerks to
sweep out the ofiice and read the newspapers at Crescent
City; that these same clerks seemed to have little to do
MINERAL RESOURCES— GOLD. 135
and plenty of time to do it in; that they spent most of
their leisure time fsLhont 23 hours out of the 24:J in buggy
riding, pool playing, and other pleasant but costly diver-
sions— -all this indicating that thei/ official business was
either very small, or that it weighed lightly indeed upon
their high-toned shoulders. Visitors to Big Flat also in-
sinuated that, like " our friends, the Bermudiaus,'^ the Big
Flat Company had one " boss " to every laborer. The
rumors and suspicions thus set afloat were confirmed when
pay-day rolled around and the men were informed that
there was no money in the treasury to pay them for their
labor. Work was discontinued at the mine, and a settle-
ment was effected with the men by which they received
75 per cent, of their wages. But this was not the end.
The affairs of the company grew from bad to worse, and
finally the whole property, not excepting even the office
furniture, was attached by several indignant creditors,
who slowly awoke to the fact that they had been " sold
Of the present condition of the concern — whether the
mine will be abandoned to the creditors, or whether more
money will be advanced by the Boston share-holders—-
but little is known. Certainly it is the opinion of a ma-
jority of the practical miners of the county that a well-
directed expenditure of capital at Big Flat would open up
a rich raining district, and yield large returns on the in-
vestment. But to accomplish such a result, there must be
more laborers than officers; labor and capital must be ap-
plied to the best advantage. About 1100,000 have already
been expended at Big Flat, and an outlay of a few thous-
ands more would put the mine in good working condition.
The Mountaineer Mine, near the Big Flat, is supposed
to be very rich ground. It is intended to complete a
ditch, part of which has been dug, fj-om Jones' Creek to
the mine The ditch will be five miles in length.
The Haynes Flat Mine is owned by a Boston and San
136 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
Francisco company. Work was commenced on Hajnes
Flat in 1877. About three miles of ditch and flume were
built, but through a failure on the part of the company to
advance the " needful^" the work was discontinued and
has not since been resumed.
The French Hill Mine has" been worked to some extent
for fifteen or twenty years. It is owned by a San Fran-
cisco company. Like the Big Flat Mine, it has met with
financial difl&culties, and the property was recently
attached by creditors. It is understood, however, that an
arrangement has been made whereby the debts of the
company will be paid and work resumed.
There are other placers on Smith's Eiver, which have
been worked for years, and at times have yielded large
amounts of gold.
Besides these gold deposits, there are several well-de-
fined leads of gold-bearing quartz, and the black sands on
the ocean beach are heavy with fine gold.
W. B. Mason and Jos. Connor own a gold-bearing quartz
ledge on ^fyrtle Creek, and other faltering prospects of
the same nature have been found.
The Bald Hill Quartz Mine is situated in the Bald Hills,
about twelve miles north-east of Crescent City. It has
been worked m.ore or less for twenty years, but the parties
prospecting it having limited means did not give it a fair
test. Some veiy rich specimens have been found in spurs
of this ledge. The Del Norte (lold .Mining Company own
the mine. The shares of the company are all held by
gentlemen of Crescent City.
The be^ich nsines are worthy of a more extended notice,
for they are destined to form an important feature in the
future interests of Del Norte, when the inventive genius
of Edi.son or some other great mind discovers a methoil of
separating the gold irom the sand. The existence of vast
deposits of gold bearing sands on the sea coast of Califor-
nia. Oregon and Washington Territory has been a matter
MINERAL RESOURCES— GOLD. 137
of nouoriety for a quarter of a century. The wealth of
these deposits is fabulous. In 1852 there was great ex-
citement in this State about Gold Beach or Humbug
Mountain, in Southern Oregon, between Rogue Eiver and
Port Orford. The supplies for these mines were nearly
all procured from the wholesale houses of Crescent City,
and many accounts were given of the richness of these
mines. In fact, so great was the rush of miners to this
new locality, that it was feared the placer mines of this
part of the State would become depopulated.
The largest deposits of gold-bearing or black sands are
in the vicinity of Humboldt Bay, Gold Bluff, Klamath
Eiver and Crescent City. At Gold Bluff miners have
been working for twenty years. Tbi^ Gold Bluff mine is
now the most extensively worked beach mine on the coast,
the (lold Beach mine having been abandoned years ago.
In 1850, when this portion of the coast line was still in
undisturbed possession of the Indian tribes, a party of
adventurers traveled from Trinidad up, seeking for the
mouth of the Trinity Eiver, which, instead of being in
reality an affluent of the Klamath, was supposed to have
a separate mouth. One of the party was J. K. Johnson,
now a resident of Crescent City. At a favorable sjoot on
the beach they saw glittering particles of sand, and on
examination found them to be gold. Gathering some of
this gold, they went back to Trinidad, to procure jDro-
visions. On their return, however, they found nothing
but a bed of gravel, a change in the direction of the surf
having carried away or covered up the glittering treasure.
After this discovery ensued' the so-called "Gold Bluff
excitement." The first mining claim was taken up the
same year by Bertrand & JSordhamer. The sands were
worked with sluices, the gold being caught in riffles sawed
in a plank, loaded with quicksilver. From that time to
the present the Gold Bluff beaches have been steadily
worked, the highest amount taken out in any one year
138 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
being #25,000 for the lower claim, about one mile below
the upper bluffs.
One claim on the beach four miles from Crescent City
has also been worked for several years. The return per
ton of sand is very meagre, and the tailings prove by a
careful assay to be nearly as rich in the precious metal as
before washing. Attempts have been made to separate
the gold from the sand by various processes with machin-
ery, and by chlorination and boiling, until finally nearly
all parties working these mines have returned to the old
process of sluicing. Only a moity of the gold is obtained
by this process, but the work pays a profit. The value of
these sands is greatly increased by the quantities of plati-
num they contain, which is now wasted, owing to the
imperfect manner in which the gold is obtained. The
various processes hitherto tried have been unable to
accomplish anything more than by the process of sluicing,
and the beach mines of Del Norte will continue to expose
temptingly before us their riches, until some inventive
Yankee discovers a process for extracting the gold from
The opinion has been held by some that this beach gold
comes from the bottom of the ocean, but a majority' believe
that the gold comes from the bluffs along the coast, and
that the acLion of the sea working night and day is the
great natural separator. And it has been remarked that
when the direction of the wind is such that the surf breaks
square on the beach, it rolls up quantities of course gravel,
and no black sand is visible; but that, w^hen it cuts the
beach at an angle, the gravel is washed into heaps in cer-
tain spots, and in others biaek sand is deposited, more or
less rich in gold.
From a paper read before the California Academy of
Science, Jan: 5, 3874, by A. W. Chase, the following in
regard to this subject is taken:
"Many ideas have been advanced as to the probability
MINERAL RESOURCES— GOLD. 139
of gold in quantities, aud course in character being found
beyond the lines of surf, i^redieated on the fact that it in
conjunction with black sand has been said to have been
brought up from the bottom by the leads of sailing vessels,
and I believe an expedition was fitted out to obtain the
sand by means of a diving bell or some such apparatus,
which did not result favorably.
" Two or three facts can be taken in consideration here
to form an idea on this subject. The first is that the gold
evidently comes from the bluffs. This no orie can doubt
after once viewing them. The second, that after •'•' caves "
the gold obtained is much coarser in character. The
third, that it is only after a continued succession of swells
that cut the beach at an angle that the rich sands are
found. When the surf breaks square on, let storms be
ever so heavy, it simply loads the beach with gravel. The
fourth, that no one witnessing the power of the surf can
doubt that it must have an immense grinding force. From
these facts, I am inclined to believe that the gold follows
the first two or three lines of breakers, and will never be
found in paying quantities beyond.''
The black sand is very heavy, but the gold 'obtained
from it is so light that when dry it will float on the surface
of water. Besides gold, the black sand contains many
other varieties of minerals. Prof Silliman, in his "Notes
on the Mineralogy of California. Utah and Nevada," men-
tions a great variety of minerals as composing the black
sands of Butte county, California. It is probable that all
or nearly all of these will be found in the black sand of
the ocean beach. As there are large deposits of chrome
iron in Del Norte county, it is probable that chromite
forms a portion of the black sand of this county. Prof
Silliman mentions syenite as the matrix from which most
of the minerals he enumerates came, and Mr. Chase, in the
paper above quoted, states that it is a common factor in
the gravel here. On microscopic examination, besides the
140 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
gold and magnetic iron ore, the sand will be seen to con-
tain minute and brilliant red particles, and other translu-
cent particles will be seen. Prof. J. D. Dana, to whom a
si^ecimen of the sands were sent, says: " The red grains
in the sand are ganet. It is probable that the deposit of
sands dates partly from the close of the Glacial era; that
is, the time of melting of the ice in the early part of the
Champlain period, when floods and gravel depositions
were the order of the day; and partly from the latter part
of the Champlain period, when the floods were but par-
tially abated, yet the depositions were more quiet."
There are several ledges of silver-bearing quartz in the
county. In fact, nearly all the gold-bearing quartz con-
tains some silver, and the copper and chrome ores contain
more less silver. Time will demonstrate that there are
silver mines here unequalled elsewhere on the coast.
The copper leads and beds in this county are well-defined
and extensive. Copper ore was discovered in 1860 in the
north-western part of the county, on the Low Divide.
When these mines were discovered there was a great
excitement and rush for claims, everybody ignoring the
rule that it requires money to successfully operjite in cop-
There are five good copper mines in the Low Divide
District, viz: the "Hanscom," "Occidental," "Alta,"
"Union" and "Monmouth," all located on fine leads.
From 186*0 to 1863 there was shipped from the " Alta "
and "Union " mines about 2,000 tons of good cojDper ore,
containing a large percentage of gold and silver. Owing
to the high price of labor and transportation at that tirbe.
MINERAL RESOURCES-- SILVER, COPPER, CHROME. 141
the mines did not pay to worl^, tiie jirice of coj)per also
being very low. Wages for miners were from $75 to $100
per month and board; freight from the mines to Crescent
City, $10 per ton; lighterage, $2.50; freight to San Fran-
cisco, 810; drayage and wharfage in San Francisco, $1;
making on account of transportation from th^ mines to
San Francisco, 823.50 per ton.
At this present writing all this has changed. Wages
for miners are about $40 per month and board; freight
per ton, $6; freight to San Francisco, and wharfage, $4;
making the cost of transpoi'tation $10. The ore is very
rich, its mrrket value per ton in San Francisco being $50
or $60. Fifteen thousand tons of copper might annually
be exported from these mines. For several years past
they have remained idle, the owners lacking the necessaiy
means or the enterprise to work them.
•The Condon Copper Mine, at Big Flat, is the only cop-
per mine in the county that has recentlj^ been worked to
any extent. It is supposed to be the richest copper ledge
in the State. Mr. Condon, the owner, has sunk a shaft
about 40 feet deep and 50 feet back in the hill. The ledge
is from 15 to 20 feet wide, and grows wider as it goes
down. While the shaft was being sunk a cave was broken
into in the middle of the ledge which was about 15 feet
square, and was on all sides rich with decomposed ore,
leaving what remained almost pure copper.
The chrome mines of Del Norte county are situated on
Low Divide Hill, in Low Divide District, and in the vici-
nity of the copper mines. Attention was first directed to
the chrome ores in 1868; claims were located, opened,
and worked in 1869. The Tyson Smelting Company, of
Baltimore, Md., shipped annually from 1869 to 1873, 1,500
tons of this ore. The total expense per ton, inclusive of
142 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
shipment to Baltimore, amounts to about $21. The ore
averages 40 per cent. From 1873 to the present time the
shipments have been irregular and light, and but little
work has been done in the mines, the amount annually
taken out averagine; about 600 tons.
The Low Divide District is one vast body of mineral
wealth. Not only does it contain enormous quantities of
copper and chrome, but immense deposits of iron ore, of
various grades and classes, are found there. Iron ore is
found in various parts of the county, but the bulk of it is
situated in the Low Divide District, where the chrome
iron mine of the Tyson company is situated. These iron
ores have been tested by scientific men, who have all pro-
nounced them as of %'ery high grade. Besides the chro-
mic there are deposits of the redand broAvn hematite, and
the magnetic iron ores. Notwithstanding the fact that
this vast mineral wealth lies at their very doors, waiting
to be brought to the surface, the people of Del Norte do
not seek to enlist the aid of capitalists to open the mines
and build furnaces; indeed, the outside world is in almost
total ignorance of the existence of these ores in Del Norte
county; all owing to the lack of enterprise and business
tacL on the part of the business men of the county. Per-
adventure, if the Seven Slee])ers were in the mining region
of Del Norte, the}' would never be woke up by its " enter-
prising " citizens.
From the best information I have been able to obtain,
it appears that but one attempt has ever been made to at-
tract the attention of iron manufacturers to this locality.
In the spi'ing of 1874 Mr. Wm. Sublette, of San Francisco,
spent two months prospecting with the view to ascertain
the real extent of these iron deposits, and the facilities
which exist for their profitable working. Mr. Sublette
MINERAL RESOURCES — IRON, COAL. 143
returned to San Francisco thoroughly satisfied that the
deposits are inexhaustible, and that they can be worked
cheaper, and, consequentl_y with more jji-ofit than in any
other locality on the Pacific Coast. He believed that
these resources are bound to make Del Norte county the
greatest iron producing section in the West. As the re-
sult of his investigations he announced that he found iron
of all the various grades in abundance, with plenty of
limestone necessary for fluxing purposes. Ample water
power can be obtained on Smith's liiver, and the timber
for charcoal is limitless. The iron ores are situated
within twelve miles of Crescent City, which would be the
shipping point. Mr. Sublette estimated that a company
working on its own capital could lay down a tram-way
from their furnaces to tide Avater at Crescent City, and
deliver the pig iron there at a cost of about one dollar per
ton. Transportation from Crescent City to San Francisco
would cosi about $3 per ton, making the entire cost of
transportation only $4 per ton. Sydney coal, for blasting-
purposes, can be laid down at Crescent City for $1 or $S
per ton, by the cargo. Mr. Sublette endeavored to
secure the necessary capital to work these mines, but
failed to do so, and nothing has since been done in the
matter. The value of these mineral deposits cannot be
overestimated. From the time the first furnace w^as
erected, a new era of prosperity would dawn for Del
Was discovered several years ago on Point St. George,
and a company was formed to work the same. But like
every other mining company, with the exception of the
Tyson company, who have worked mines in the vicinity
of Crescent City, the coal company was destitute of capi-
tal; and after sinking a shaft some seventy or eighty feet.
144 HISTOEY OF DEL NORTE.
and finding excellent prospects, they were compelled to
suspend work at the urgent request of creditors. This is
the only coal mine that has ever been worked here, though
the same coal --a brown coal of valuable properties —has
been discovered in various parts of this section.
THE AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES 01' DEL NORTE COUNTY.
That portion of the. Crescent City Plain comprising Elk
Valley and Smith's Eiver Valley consists of about 18
square miles of the richest and best agricultural lands,
viz: Smith's River Valley, 15 squai'e miles; Elk Valley,
3 square miles. The quality of the land varies somewhat
in diflferent localities, but in general it is a heavy, black
soil, raising the finest of vegetables, oats, wheat and bar-
ley, and the best and most nutritious grass.
A comparatively small amount of the arable landof the
county is cultivated, daiiying being the great industry
which requires nearly all the land for grazing purposes.
Owing to this fact the amount of grain raised in the county
is very small, not sufficient for home consumption. The
yield of grain is about 30 bushels of wiieat to the acre, 50
bushels ot oats, 40 bushels of barley. Potatoes could be
raised Avith great pi'otit if the demand of the home market
was sufficient to aftbrd buyers for them. New land yields
from 8 to 12 tons to the acre; land which has been under
cultivation for 3'ears, from 2 t«o 5 tons to the acre.
There is a small amount ot arable land in the vicinity
of Happy Camp and on Indian Creek. The farmers there
nearly all raise large quantities of vegetables, which find
a ready sale among the miners at fair prices.
Fruit abounds in Pel JSTorte countj". A brief notice of
146 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
some of the fruits indigeneous to the Northern coast, and
which may all be found in this county, is here given.
The thimbleberry is a small, luscious red berry, with a
delicious flavor. They grow on a thornless bush, four or
five feet high.
The salmonberry is of two colors, red, and dark yellow,
and the bush is covered with spines or thorns, like the
blackberry. The shoot continues to grow from year to
year, and in time sheds its spines. The bush is sometimes
three inches through near the ground, and ten or twelve
feet high. The fruit is somewhat larger than the largest
specimens of the Lawton blackberry, and they are the
first fruit to ripen, commencing during the latter part of
May and continuing till ihe latter part of June. The fruit
is used in its raw state, fresh from the bushes, with cream
and sugar. It has a plain acid taste, is not juicy like the
thimbleberiy and blackberry, and is not good for pies.
There are two varieties of huckleberries. The blue
huckleberry is- the finest flavored of all the native berries,
of this region. Grows about two feet high; fruit ripens
through July and August, Another species grows in the
redwood forests eight to ten feet high; has a pleasant acid
taste; ripens through summer to autumn.
The strawberry is found in small quantities on the sand
ridges bor<lering the ocean, and on the warmest spots Oii
prairies. Berry small, ai)d of little account.
The blackberry is abundant. Any quantity can be
gathered in close proximity to (.'I'escent ('ity.
Of the cultivated fruits, the apple and plum <lo exceed-
ingly well. The apple lacks the rich flavor of the Oregon
apple, but the plum is perfection itself. Apples keep all
winter to April, and "will stay on the trees until Christmas.
Most varieties of pears do well The raspberry and cur-
rant are perfectly at home, and some very fine varieties
of strawberries are raised in Smith's Biver Valley. Some
varieties of gooseberries do very well.
AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES OF DEL NORTE. 141
Besides the varieties of wild berries mentioned, there
are several kinds of beautiful flowering- shrubs, growing
on the prairies and in the forests of the foot-hills. One is
known as the Shrub Honeysuckle, growing on j^i'aii'ies,
from four to five feet high. It bears a profusion of sweet
scented flowers, filling the air with their delicate pei'fume.
In the forests of the foot hills are rhododendrons and
laurels with large, show}' flowers, and other trees and
shrubs worthy of a place in ever}* garden.
The dairying interests are so intimately connected with
the agricultural interests of the county, that they will be
considered under the same head. The largest dairies are
in Smith's River Valley. The following is a list of the
principal dairymen and the number of cows milked by
each during the season of 1880:
J. R. Nickel, 87: Wm, IJobinson, 40; Mrs. Ann Eigg,
190; L. W. Jones, 53; Bailey Brothers, 55; J. H. Hall,
42; A. Grow, 7; F. W. Oberschmidt, 7; S. T. Youmans,
99; Theodore White, 51; Strain Brothers, 108; Henry
Alexander, 33: D. R. (n-iffin, 30; Jas. Ewiug, 18; Eli
Howland, 40; Jos. Younker, 20; J. McLaughlin, 125; J.
T). Kirkham, 9; H. C. l^ansom, 180; H. Westbrook, 200;
C. Woodrufl; 11; C. Beam. 18; Jas. Hight, 10; Henry
Marsh, 10; Denis 'J'ryou, 200; Jas. Aulpaugh, 40; M. V.
Jones, 70; L. DeMartin, 68; E. W. Smith, 110; J. Bertch,
39; Chris. Steiger, 15; J. Maris, 56; F. Gay, 25; F. Chap-
man, 25; others milking from 2 to 6 cows, making the
total, 2,150 cows.
These 2,150 cows will average 150 pounds of butter to
the cow, making the annual product of butter in Del Norte
county, 322,500. Reckoning that this butter will net 25
cents per pound, which is a very low estimate, it will
amount to the sum of $80,625. The Del Norte butter is
of the Very best quality, and is eagerly sought after in the
San Francisco market, where it competes successfully with
fancy brands from Marin and Sonoma counties. Every
148 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
year the production increases, and in a few years it will
probably reach a half million of pounds.
Before we take leave of the subject of the agricultural
resources of the county, we will glance at the history,
present condition, and agricultural, lumber and mineral
resources of the Klamath Indian Eeservation, in this
count3\ In this Klamath Reservation, locked up by the
Government, and rendered useless by the idiotic measures
of the Indian Department, are thousands of acres of as
fine timber land as the sun ever shone upon. And im-
mense resources in minerals lie useless and idle because of
the unjust and absurd policy of the Federal Government.
A territory twenty miles long and two miles wide is kept
sacred to the use of 82 Digger Indians.
When the Eeservation was first formed in 1855, it was
a necessity arising from the danger to be apprehended
from three or four thousand Indians who were running
over the county, threatening the whites, and making
themselves generally obnoxious. This necessity' has long
since passed away. The Indians on the Reservation have
decreased from over 2,000 to less than 100; and as most
of their warriors and braves sleep in tfie embrace of death,
there no longer remains any reason to fear them.
Tile Indian Department, entirely ignorant of the true
state of affairs, or else careless and indifferent in regard to
the matter, have turned a deaf ear to every appeal made
to them on behalf of the whites. Our Congressmen have
moi-c than once been reminded that it was their duty to
interest themselves in procuring an abandonment of the
reserve by the (iovernment, but have as yet accomplished
nothing more than to make a repetition of the representa-
tions which have from time to time been made to the Iii-
Uncle vSam is a rich old gentleman. He is rich enough
to give all who apply a farm, and he is as generous as he
is rich. It is his evident intention that every man shall
AGRICULTURAE RESOURCES OP DEL NORTE. 149
have a home of his own; for that purpose he has estab-
lished Jand offices in oearl}- every section of the country.
Laws have been enacted for the purpose of distributing
lands among the people, and all the land laws seem to
point in one direction, that is, that each citizen may
acquire 160 acres of land. And if we admit that 160 acres
of land are Hufficient for a white man, who tills the soil
and improves his possessions, then it is a matter of sur-
prise that such an unjust discrimination in favor of the
Indian as is shown by the Government regarding the
Klamath Reservation should be made. There are about
twenty -five able bodied male Indians on this reservation.
A moments calculation, taking into consideration that the
reservation is twenty miles long and two miles wide, will
prove that each one of these Indians is allowed eight or
ten times as much as a white man. And the injustice of
the thing will be more appai-ent, if possible, by considering
that the Indians occupying the reservation are of the
lowest class of the slothful, ignorant Digger tribe, and
that they are never known to bring an acre of land into
cultivation, much less open mines, an<i convert timber into
It may be said in answer to this, that the amount of
arable land in the Klamath Reservation is so small that it
would not support any considerable number of settlers.
Admitting this fact, yet it cannot be denied that there are
lumber resources within the bounds ot the reservation
sufficient to give thousands of men employment; that the
mineral wealth stored in its gulches and mountains would
prove almost inexhaustible; that the salmon fisheries
which would be established on the Klamath River would
be another source of wealth and industry, ^y construct-
ing a rock wall eight hundred feet long from the main
land to a rock outside, the entrance to the river could be
made safe at all times. Light-draft steamboats could nav-
igate the river for 65 miles, from its mouth to Orleans
150 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
Bar, if a few thousand dollars were spent in improvements
to the river.
All these facts show conclusively the reason for urging
the Government to remove the Indians now on the reserve
to some other reservation, and open the Klamath Reser-
vation to settlement by the whites. The Indians could
be easily removed to the Hoopa Eeservation, about 50
miles above the mouth of the Klamath.
It was at one time believed that the reservation would
be opened, and in this belief a number of settlers located
on the reservation and made improvements to the amount
ot 810,000 or more. They continued in uninterrupted
possession of their claims for over a year. M. V. Jones,
of Crescent City, established a fishery at the mouth of the
river, a tavern tor the accommodation of travelers was
erected by 31. (1. Tucker, and a ferry was also kept by
the same gentleman.. There were located at the mouth
of the river and vicinity a dozen settlers, and many others
were preparing to locate there as soon as the Indians were
removed and the reservation declared open Those who
h.ad ah'eady located felt that they were secure in their
])OSsessions. A postoffice was created by the (iovernment
and M. (t. Tucker appointed Postmaster. This fact con-
tirmed the settlers in their beiief that the reservation was
soon to be declared abandoned for Indian purposes. And
great was. their consternation when in the fall of 1877
they received an official or<lei' commanding them to vacate
the preniises immediately. The Legislature was then in
session, and Mr. Tucker wrote to Jas. E. Murphy, Eepre-
sentntive from Del Norte, requesting him to endeavor to
procure a stay of proceedings and an extension of time in
which to remove their property from the reservation.
Mr. Murphj- accordingly went to Gen. McDowel, Com-
manding the Pacilic Coast Division, G. A. R., and laid be-
fore him the situation of the settlers and iheir request.
As a result of .this interview, orders were given, that, the
AGBICULTURAL RESOURCES OF DEL NORTE. 151
time in which the settlers must remove from the reserva-
tion be extended six months. Six months passed and the
settlers did not remove. Thus matters stood until July,
1879, when a detachment of V. S. soldiers ejected the set-
tlers from the reservation.
So unjust was this proceeding considered, and so confi
dent were the people that the Indian Department were in
ignorance of the true state of affairs, that the aid of our
representative in Congress was demanded, and a bill was
introduced by Congressman Berry looking to the opening
of the reservation to settlement by the whites. But Mr.
Berry was probabl}' too much engaged in other business
to attend to the interests of his constituents, for nothing-
was accomplished by him beyond the introduction of the
bill above referred to.
About the same time Bill No. 5038 was introduced in
the House of Representatives by the Committee on Indian
In April, 1880, a letter was received by a gentleman of
Crescent City from Congressman Berry, reviewing the
provisions of the bill above mentioned. The following is
an extract from the letter alluded to:
"I think it ^the bill^ is wholly impracticable and will
result in no benefit to the Indians, but be an absolute in-
jury to them, and an injustice t'o every section of country
in which a reservation is located. In the Klamath Reser-
vation, the operation of the bill would be, if carried out,
to tie it up for fifteen or twenty years; at least that is my
Representative Berry professed to take a great interest
in the matter of opening the reservation to settlement by
the w^hites, but this interest was manifested only in words,
for notwithstanding a bill. No. 3454, was reported back to
the House of Representatives by the Committee on Indian
Affairs, to whom it had been referred, recommending in
the most unqualified terms that it be passed, nothing more
152 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
was done in regard to it, and up to the present time the
matter remains in the same situation as before; indeed,
our own Congressmen were so negligent that after the
bill was reported back favorably by the Committee on In-
dian Affairs, no attempt was made to pass it through the
The Eepon of the Committee on Indian Affairs, to
whom was referred the bill for the restoration of the
Klamath Eeservation to the public domain, is no full of
information on this subject, that it is given here, without
any apology for its length or the length of time" which has
elapsed since its return to the House:
House of i representatives,
May 7th. 1880.
[report to accompany bill h. r. 3454.1
"It is in evidence that the reservation in question -was
set apart for Indian purposes by executive order of Nov.
iG, 1855, in pursuance of the act of March 3, 1855, relating
to the Indians of California, and included the lands em-
braced in a ^trip one mile wide on both sides of the river
for a distance of -twenty miles from its mouth.
'■The formation of this reservation was exceedingly
wrong and unjust to the public interests, as it rendered all
the lands lying outside, opposite, and adjoining the same
comparatively valueless, as the water fronton both banks
was within the reservation, and the evidence discloses the
fact that these adjoining lands are ver}' valuable for the
timber growing upon them, and likewise for grazing and
" It is also in evidence that this reservation was occupied,
in accordance with the executive order, until the year
1861, when a gTeat freshet occurred, which washed away
all the houses and improvements which had been erected
thereon. Early in the following year fl8Q2J the Indians
were removed by official direction temporarily to Smith's
AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES OF DEL NORTE. 153
River, aud soon thereafter to the Hoopa Eeservation on
Trinity River, where they were permanently located, and
an agency established for their benefit.
''After this destruction of the Indian settlements and
public property hy the freshet of 1861, which was un-
doubtedly the primary cause of the removal of the Indians
from the Klamath River Reservation to that of the Hoopa
Yalley on the Trinity River, it was generally understood
and believed that the Government had abandoned all claim
to the lands embraced within this reservation. As a re-
sult of such belief and underr^tanding, citizens of the
United States seeking homes in this portion of the State
of California entered ujDon, occupied, and improved certain
portions of these lauds, many of whom expended large
sums of mone}", and still greater values in labor, in the
development and improvement of the lands in question,
and the erection of their homes. To dispel any doubts
that might have been entertained as to the rights of
■ settlers on this abandoned reservation, in the year 1874
the Hon. J. K. Luttrell applied to the Department of the
Interior for information as to whether the Klamath Eiver
Eeservation was still held as such by the Government,
and in response received the following letter, to wit:
Department of the Interior,
Office of Indian Affairs,
Washington, D. C, Feb. 27, 1874.
Sir: — In response to your verbal iiiquiry concerning the
Klamath Indian Reservation in California, I will state that
the reservation in question, being described as a strip of
country commencing at the coast of the Pacific Ocean and
extending one mile in width on each side of the Klamath
River, and up the same twenty miles, was approved by the
President on the 16th of November, 1855, as one of the
two reservations for Indians in California authorized by a
clause in the Indian appropriation act of March 3, 1855
(^Stat. L., voL 10, p. 699). In the year 1861 nearly all of
the arable land was destroyed by a freshet, rendering the
reservation almost worthless, in view of which a new
154 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
reservation was established adjacent thereto by order of
the Secretary of the Interior, dated May 3. 1862. This
reservation was known as the Smith's River Reservation,
and was discontinued by a clause in the Indian appropri-
ation act approved July 27. 1868 (^Stat. L., vol 15, p. 22J.
The Klamath Eeservation has not been used for any pub-
lic purposes since the freshet referred to, and the depart-
ment has no claim upon it.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ED W A ED SHUTBR,
HOJM. J. K. LUTTRELL,
House of liepresentatives.
" This official communication, proceeding from an
authorized agent of the Government, was, of course, relied
upon as an official declaration that the (jovernment had
relinquished and abandoned all claim to the lands of the
said reservation which had been conferred upon it by the
act of March H. 1855. This official letter was confirmatory
of what had been for years the understanding and belief
of every one conversant with the facts in the case.
"After the publication of this official declaration on the
part of the Government, through the agent authorized by
law to give expression to such determination and decision
on its part, settlers on the abandoned reservation rested in
security. As natural to such an event, possessed with
the idea that the title to their homes and the results of
their labor would remain undisturbed, a fresh impetus was
given to the improvement of farms, building of houses, es-
tablishment of fisheries, erection of mills, and many other
processes of development incident to the settlement of a
new country. In the progress of this development the
wants of the settlers called for mail facilities, and a post-
office was established at the mouth of the Klamath Elver.
The establishment of this office was another recognition
on the part of the agents of the Government of theiJerma-
nency of the white settlers on this abandoned reservation.
AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES OP DEL NORTE. 155
As a further mark of the belief of these settlers that their
homes and property would be reserved to them, they
erected bridges and established ferries to promote inter-
course between the settlements on both sides of therivei'.
"In the midst of this progress of white civilization on
an abandoned reservation, in the year 1877, for some
cause which is not apparent at this time, the Government
chose to reassert its rights to this reservation. It appears
that t*ome Indians, probably those belonging to the Hoopa
Eeservation, had found their way back to the Klamath
Eiver, and were living, as Indians in that section of
country do, on fish, supplemented with what they could
beg- from the whites, and when this source failed would
perform such labor for the settlers as would procure the
means of sustaining life.
" From the testimony of eminent citizens of the vicinity,
who are well informed as to the facts of which they speak,
and whose veracity is unquestioned, it is established that
the whites and Indians were living in a state of peace, and
also in a state of mutual dependency and communion with
each other, so far as labor and food were concerned, inas-
much as the Indians depended more or less upon the
whites for subsistence, and the whites in turn employed
the Indians to perform such labor as they were capable of
"It is in evidence that some time in the spring or early
part of 1877 Lieut. James Halloran made a scout to the
mouth of the Klamath Eiver, and reported a condition of
affairs likely to lead to hostilities between the whites and
Indians if the cause of disagreement was not speedily re-
moved. The inciting cause is not stated, but regarding
the declaration of reliable and trusty worthy citizens as
correct, that the whites and Indians were living in peace,
and that the Indians did not desire the whites to leave,
it is difficult to surmise what the "conflicting interests "
were, or what the cause of dissatisfaction. There were
156 HISTORY OP DEL NORTE.
neither agent nor suj^erinteudent at the Klamath Eivei*
Eeservation, and it is hinted that liquor was being* sold to
the Indians, but there were laws in force under which
those who sold intoxicating liquors to these Indians could
have been punished. There is no spirit of justice or equity
in a rule that would make a whole community suffer for
the misdeeds of a few of its members, and that punishment
so great as to sweep from them their homes and property,
the result of long years of industry, sobriety, and the ex-
penditure of large sums of money in the development of
the resources of the country.
'' This report of Lieut. Halloran was, through the War
Department, laid before the Secretary of the Interior, and,
in turn, he called upon the Secretarj- of War to cause the
settlers to be removed from the Klamath Reservation.
"Acting upon an order from the War Department, Gen.
Irwin McDowell, on the 19th of October, 1877, ordered
Captain Parker to notify the settlers on this reservation
to leave immediately, and this order he executed by noti-
fying fourteen persons to leave with their property, four
of whom were admitted to be without the limJts of the
'■ These settlers earnestly protested against being forced
to leave at the time of year when the rainy season was
upon them. Subsequently the order was modified, allow-
ing them six months in which Lo abandon their homes.
These settlers protested that they had lived there many
years in the belief that they were on the public lands, and
that such belief was strengthened by the universal im-
pression that such was ihe fact, and that the Government
had relinquished its claim, as evidenced by the letter above,
quoted of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs addressed to
the Hon. J. K. Luttrell. Representative from California.
'^ Under this order, however, a portion of the settlers
were removed or driven off, and at the time of their re-
moval it is in evidence before the Committee that there
AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES OP DEL NORTE. 157
were not to exceed 115 Indians occupying tbis reservation.
Unimpeachable testimony of a sworn character has been
submitted establishing this fact. M. G. Tucker, who has
lived in that vicinity for many years, acting as an inter-
preter, states under oath that there are not to exceed 95
Indians in all now upon the reservation, to wit. 29 bucks,
50 squaws, and 16 children.
•''Joseph Ewing, equally well informed, states that there
may be 115 in all, to wit, 30 bucks, 70 squaws, and 15
"Judge J. P. Haynes places the number at 125 in all.
" Both of the affiants. Tucker &: Ewing, state that these
Indians are of different tribes, families, or bands, and that
they are continually at war with each other; that homi-
cides and murder are of continual occurrence. The re-
sti'aining influence of the white settlers, in the absence of
United States troops and Government authority, is needed
to preserve peace in the community.
" It has been shown that these Indians have made no
advancement in the arts of civilized life, there being not
more than five acres of land under cultivation by them in
the entire reservation, and that amount is contained in
small parcels around their huts.
" Should this Committee admit the power of the Presi-
dent to establish permanent reserves by executive order,
there should be a protest entered against the manner in
which that power was exercised in establishing the Klam-
ath Eiver Reservation. A reserve containing but forty
square miles of territory, covering forty miles of w^ater
front, extending but one mile back from the river's banks,
is, to say the leaat, preposterous. This reservation might
just as well extend ten or twenty miles back from the
water, on each side of the river, as one mile, inasmuch as
no one can or will settle upon these lands outside of the
reserve for its entire length, as they would be cut off en-
tirely from the river, which is their only and natural
158 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
highway. The injustice which has been arbitrarily iu
flicted upon the settlers of this vicinity is at once apparent.
To permit a few Indians (^lessthan 100 in nurabery) to hold
40 sections of land, and thereby control over 400 sections,
is an injustice, if not an outrage, that should not for a
moment be tolerated. It is clearl}^ established from the
evidence submitted that from the year 1862 up to the year
1877 the reservation in question was abandoned by the
Government, and that the Indians w^ere, in 1862, removed
to the Hoopa Valley Reservation, and permanently located
there, where an agency was established and still exists.
Hence it appears that these Indians on the Klamath River
Reservation are not where they ought to be; that by and
under the laws and regulations governing the settlement
of Indian tribes on reservations especially set apart for
them, they should now be on the reservation set apart for
them, which is the Hoopa Reservation on the Trinity
River, in the State of California, a reserve suflSciently
large, as appears from the evidence, to accommodate ten
times the number now upon it.
"It is clear that the Government exercised no control
over the Klamath Reservation for a period of sixteen
years; that settlers went upon the lands in good faith,
believing the Government had abandoned the reserve;
that in 1874 the Commissioner of Indian Affairs declared
officially that ''The Klamath Reservation has not been
used for any public purpose since the freshet referred to,
and the department has no claim upon it." These facts
are to be considered in determining the relative rights of
each race of settlers. While the Committee would not do
an injustice to the Indian, they are at the same time un-
willing to permit an outrage to be inflicted upon the white
settlers who entered upon these lands in good faith, and
under the sanction of the Government have made valuable
improvements thei*eupon. These white settlers are, in
the opinion of the Committee, as much entitled to the pro-
AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES OP DEL NORTE. 159
teclion of the Government as other good citizens who by
the power of the Government are protected from an inva-
sion of their rights and the destruction of their homes and
property. If it be held, however, that the Indians have
an original title to these lands, and that the 100 of their
race now living thereon would be wronged by the passage
of this bill, it may be asserted in behalf of the measure
that the relations now existing betweeji these Indians and
the white settlers are of such a reciprocal character as to
warrant the conclusion that the removal of the white set-
tlers would be an injury to the Indians remaining upon the
reservation, as the Indians in return for their labor depend
upon the whites for iheir food and clothing, and the evi-
dence discloses that from long usage this character of food
and raiment has become essential to their existence.
" There are other and conclusive arguments to be urged
in favor of restoring these lands to the public domain.
By the singular construction of this reservation, as shown
in this report, a large area of the public lands, embracing
many thousands of acres of fertile lands, are practically
withheld from settlement and improvement. The Klam-
ath Eiver is 300 miles in length, taking its source near the
Oregon line. The stream is now navigable for 40 miles
and by a slight expense in the removal of rocks from the
river bed would be navigable for 100 miles or more. The
climate and the nature of the soil both combine to render
the commercial values of this stream of great importance.
It is asserted by competent authority that this section has
no equal in California as a fruit and wine growing country.
Along the entire length of the Klamath River, and espe-
cially within the reserve in question, and back of it, are
large bodies of the best timber in use, including redwood,
yellow and white pine, and cedar. The natural highway
to these immense values is the Klamath Hiver, none of
which can be appropriated to the uses and arts of civiliza-
tion so long as the reservation remains as such, as private
160 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
enterprise and capital is debarred from entering upon the
developments and labor required to perfect their use.
This I'iver, whose length for twenty miles is locked by a
despotic act on the part of the Government, is likewise the
natural highway to an extensive mining country, which
remains undeveloped and valueless for want of better
communication. Private capital, always cautious, will
hot beek investment, no matter what results may be
offered, in sections of the country where settlers have
been driven from their homes by the strong arm of the
'• It is the opinion of the Committee, after careful inves-
tigation, that the Government can have no use for these
lands as an Indian reservation. The Hoopa Reservation,
to which the Indians were removed and settled upon after
the freshet in 1862, is located but 15 miles from the aban-
doned Klamath Eeservation, and is capable of sustaining
many thousands more of Indians than are *now located
upon it. Why, then, should these lands in question be
kept from settlement and improvement by white citizens
who are eager to expend their labor and means in the
development of their resources?
='If there be no use for this abandoned reserve for the
purposes originally intended, the Committee can see no
valid reason why it shonld not be restored to the public
domain, and again made free for the access of labor and
capital of Avhite settlers seeking homes and fields for their
energy and enterprise. Entertaining this view, after an
impartial and careful consideration of all the evidence
submitted, they are constrained to report in favor of the
measure, and they therefore return the bill to the House,
with the recommendation that it pass."
It will be seen from the above that the Indian Depart-
ment express themselves as being in favor of opening the
reservation to settlement by the whites.
I have mentioned the great mineral wealth known to
AGRICULTURAL BESOURCES OF DEL NORTE. 161
exist in the reserve, also the vast amount of timber in the
forests of the same. Before closing my remarks upon this
subject, I will notice the facilities at the mouth of the
Klamath Eiver for catching and preparing salmon for
market. During the fishing season the river literally
swarms with fish, and with a large seine from five hundred
to a thousand fine salmon can be caught at one haul.
Not only one fishery, but a dozen large fisheries and can-
neries could be established at various points near the
mouth of the river, and the revenue from this industry
alone would be enormous.
THE PRESENT CONDITION AND FUTURE PROSPECTS OP DEL
NORTE WHAT IT OFFERS TO CAPITALISTS.
The present condition of the county may be given in a
brief space. And first, as to the value of the property in
the county. From the Assessment EoU of Del Norte for
1880 the following facts in regard to land, improvements,
stock, etc., are taken:
Value of land, $285,667; number of acres, 61,139; value
of improvements on land, $13,512; town lots and blocks,
$30,010; improvements on lots and blocks, $99,875; de-
duction on mortgages, $55,807; value of personal property,
$308,240; money, $22,048; improvements on all property
assessed to other than the owner of the land, $1,745;
amount of deductions, $27,152; total value of all property,
$899,738; value after all deductions, $804,144.
Value of script, $6,893; money, $27,373; 14 beehives,
$39; 1,070 gallons liquor, $3,326; 525 gallons, $2,737; beef
cattle, $75; 770 stock cattle, $7,961; colts, $2,040; 2,311
cows, $44,646; 126 utensils, $1,147; 137 goats, $402; 912
hogs, $2,258; 475 horses, $21,788; 135 mules, $4,875; 77
oxen, $2,570; ,334 poultry, $808; 1,404 sheep, $2,675; total
Taxes will compare favorably with those of other coun-
ties in the State, though they are higher than they should
be. The levy of taxes for State purposes for the j^ear
PRESENT CONDITION OF DEL NORTE. 163
1880, was 64 cents on each and every one hundred dollars
of taxable property, being an advance of one cent and a
half on each and every one hundred dollars of taxable
l^roperty, over that of the preceding year. Add to the
State tax a levy for county purjjoses of $1.86, and we have
a total taxation of $2.50 on each and every one hundred
dollars of taxable property.
The trade of the county is small, and Crescent City,
whose streets should be enlivened by long lines of freight
teams and lumber cars, and alive with the excitement of
mines and mining, is lifeless and dull. The principal ex-
ports are butter and lumber, of which 10,000,000 feet of
lumber was shipped to San Francisco in 1880, and 322,000
pounds of butter. About $200,000 in gold-dust is also ex-
ported annually from the mines in the county. The im-
ports are small, probably 3,000 tons of general merchan-
dise per year.
Summing up the above, we find that the present condi-
tion of the county is anything but flattering. We find
that the chief exports are at present lumber and butter,
whereas chrome, iron, copper, and other ores should form
the bulk of the exports from this county. We find that
the value of the gold annually exported from the county
is but about $200,000, whereas it should mount up into
Perhaps the reader will ask, "If the mineral wealth is
so great, if there is so much gold, and copper, and iron,
and chrome in the county, why is it not brought to the
notice of capitalists who would invest their means in the
development of the mines?" There is but one answer to
this question. No one who has watched the course of the
business men and other prominent men of Del Norte for
the past few years, can doubt that the present depressed
condition of the business interests and resources of the
county is attributable to their own negligence and narrow-
minded views of public measures and public improvements.
164 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
Other communities have embodied in their business pre-
cepts the one which holds that to be successful in trade a
people must be enterprising; that without endeavor, noth-
ing can be accomplished; and that if a community show
an utter disregard of these prerequisites to success and
prosperity, they will inevitably degenerate into a slow-
moving, shiftless and unprogressive class.
There is no disputing the fact that the Del Norte of to-
day is far different from the Del Norte of twenty years
ago. Then, all measures looking to the development of
the resources of the county, and all enterprisecj, whether
of private individuals or of corporate bodies, having for
their object the advancement of the material interests of
the county, received the commendation and assistance of
the community, ^o enterprise was allowed to languish
through a lack of recognition by those whose interests it
sought to subserve. True, money was plentiful and times
were good in the early history of this county; trade was
brisk, and merchants were making money and could afford
to invest. But they did not rest contented with the trade
they alreadj^ enjoyed; they were constantly seeking new
avenues of commerce, new markets for their wares.
At the present time, the fact is commented on by all
strangers who visit J^el Norte, that the community in
general and the business men in particular are devoid of
enterprise and energy. It has even been insinuated by
some heartless critic that Crescent City looks like a de-
serted railroad town, and that when Gabriel toots his
horn for the resurrection, he will pass it by— for as the
inhabitants have never lived, it will be impossible to res-
Of course, the writer cannot fully endorse this extreme
view of the case, but he cannot shut his eyes to the fact
that the present condition of Del Norte is owing to the
lethargy and carelessness of her people. And these same
heartless and inquisitive critics have said that if a stran-
PRESENT CONBITION OP DEL NORTE. 165
ger attempts to inaugurate a new enterprise in Dell^orte,
no matter what they may lose by so doing the business
men of the place will promptly and effectually ''sit down
The people of Crescent City have evidently read and
profited (?) by the words of Horace Greeley, directing
hovv to "lay out" a town.' Greeley said that the most
effectual manner to "lay out" a town is for the people to
grab all the real property therein, and hold ii at big
figures— -never sell it to a stranger for less than about ten
prices. Never give a stranger any show. Put the screws
to him strong, and— -"keep him in the middle."
This direction of the great journalist has been religously
followed by at least a large portion of the people of Del
Norte. If a stranger came into the county with the idea
of establishing himself in business, he has been frowned
upon as though he was considered a thief or a legitimate
subject for highway robbery. In one instance, a new en-
terprise was projected on land in the immediate vicinity
of Crescent City, and the projector was allowed to get
fairly started in his preparations for work, and then his
water front was appropriated by some public-spirited in-
dividuals; and if he said anything about being "hampered"
or not given a fair show, the little story of what Jesus of
Nazareth said unto Zachariah was probably related to
him, and he was told " that's what's the matter." If he
got a little angry and gave expression to his feelings, peo-
ple laughed at him, and considered it a good joke. A
stranger had no business to get mad- -" keep him in the
middle." And the appearance and condition of Crescent
City shows that this course has been so steadily persisted
in for years past, that it has most effectually " laid out "
The present condition of Happy Camp is somewhat bet-
ter than the rest of the county. A large amount of cap-
ital has been invested in mining property during the past
166 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
few years, and almost the total gold product of the county
comes from the Happy Camp mines. Hydraulic mining-
is yet in its infancy here, and the number of mines in the
vicinity of Happy Camp using Hydraulic power increases
every year. On the whole, that part of the county com-
prising the Happy Camp, Indian Creek and Bunker Hill
mining districts is inhabited by a;n enterprising, industrious
class, and may be said to be the most prosperous portion
of the county.
The future condition of Del Norte rests entirely with
her own people. It is in their power to perpetuate the
present conditioii of things, and it is equally in their
power to raise the county to a high standing among the
mineral and lumber j^roducing counties of the State. But
to bring about such a result, the people of the county
must show enterprise, liberality to all who seek to devel-
ope her resources, and, above all, the attention of capital-
ists must be directed to our boundless forests, as yet
untouched by the hand of man; our inexhaustible mineral
wealth, now sleeping securely in the hills, must be brought
to the notice of miners who have the means and the will
to work the mines .extensively.
Notwithstanding the many untoward events which
have retarded the progress of Del Norte, I believe that
there is yet time to interest capital in the development of
its mines, lumber interests and commerce. With this end
in view, the following brief notice is taken of those inter-
ests in which money could be profitably invested.
First, we will consider the opportunities which the
mines of this county offer for a profitable investment of
capital. I believe that iron, copper and chrome will yet
become the most important of the products of Del Norte,
and as these minerals are all found in large quantities in
close proximity to each other, they will be considered
together. It has long since been conceded by practical
miners that the only way to work any of the above min-
DEL NORTE — WHAT IT OKFERS TO CAPITALISTS. 167
erals to advantage is to erect smelting furnaces at the
mines, and instead of exporting the crude ore, to ship it
in a refined state.
In the vicinity of the Low Divide, Nature has scattered
her mineral wealth with a lavish hand. Every hill is a
mine of treasure, awaiting the practical miner with his
improved mining machinery and his indomitable energy
and perseverance. Everything needful for the successful
working of large furnaces may be found in the vicinity of
the mines. Timber and fluxus abound, and no difficulty
would be experienced in procuringall the water necessary
for the purpose. The prices of transportation, coal, labor,
etc. have been reviewed in a former chapter. The mines
are now owned by men a majority of whom are unable to
erect furnaces and extract the minerals. All the copper,
chrome, and iron mines in the county, with the exception
of the propert}' owned by the Tyson Company, of Balti-
more, could be purchased at a reasonable figure, and there
is no better opportunity for the investment of a large
amount of capital in the mining regions of the Pacific
The gold mines come next in importance as affording a
subject for the investment of capital. The magic cry of
" Gold! Gold!" was first heard in Del Norte on the banks
of the Klamath Eiver. From 1851 to 1860 the richest
strikes were made in the vicinity of Happy Camp and on
Indian Creek, and the cry of " Gold! Gold!" was echoed
and re-echoed from the lofty jDcaks of the Siskiyous, until
it rolled away and was lost in the recesses of the moun-
But the "flush " days of mining in Del Norte have van-
ished with the years, and the halcyon days when the
miner with his pick and shovel could delve into the hills
and streams and bring forth the golden treasure, are gone
forever. Almost without excej)tion the placer mines of
the county now being worked are owned by incorporated
168 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
companies, and instead of laboriously working witii the
pick, shovel aud rocker, sluices and ditches have been
constructed, and the powerful hydraulic tears at hills and
mountains until they crumble down like dust.
There are large bars and flats on the Klamath Eiver
and on Smith's River which could be made to pay hand-
somely, if a sufficient amount of water was procured to
work the gravel. Water could be found from five to ten
miles from any of the flats and bars, but owing to the
mountainous nature of the country, a large outlay of cap-
ital would be required to construct ditches and flumes to
briny: the water to the mines.
The gold bearing quartz is just beginning to attract
attention. VVell-detined and extensive ledges are known
to exist in various parts of the count}', and the Myrtle
Creek and Bald Hills districts are especially rich in gold
and silver-bearing rock. There is no reason why the Bald
Hills anfl Myrtle Creek mines should not eventually rival
those of Washoe or Gold Hill.
Besides the minerals above mentioned, namely, copper,
chrome, iron, gold and silver, it is thought that Point St.
George is one vast bed of coal. All along the southern
side of the Point, coal ci'ops out on the face of the cliffs,
and a test of the same has proven it to be of snperior
quality. Shafts could be sunk within two or three miles
of Crescent City, therefore the cost of transportation
would be small, and Crescent City could compete success-
fully with Coos Bay as a coal producing point.
The beach mines have before been noticed, and it is only
necessary to add that they should receive the attention of
miners and inventors. The man who succeeds in invent-
ing a machine capable of separating the gold from the
sand will be a public benefactor, and will secure to himself
the wealth of a Rothschild.
The lumbering interests in Del Norte, as yet of little
importance as compared with other lumbering points, is
DEL NORTE --WHAT IT OFFERS TO CAPITALISTS 169
destined to grow to great dimensions, and the forests that
now cover the foot-hills of the Coast Kange will soon be
felled bj the woodsman's axe. The amount of available
timber is enormous. It is estimated that calculating the
amount of timber to the acre at 250,000 feet, the area of
timber land in Del Norte county would rejjresent a total
of 59,675,000,000 feet. Calculatingthenumber of working
days in saw-mills at 300 per annum, and limiting their
capacity to 25,000 feet per day, these forests would fur-
nish material: To one saw-mill, for 8,525 years; to five
saw-mills, for 1,705 yeai's; to ten saw-mills, for 853 years;
to twenty saw-mills, for 426 years.
The most eligible place for the erection of large saw-
mills is near the mouth of Smith's Eiver, on the sloughs
which branch out from the river on either side, and form
a net-work of safe harbors in which logs could be con-
fined. The logs could be rafted down the river at the
time of the winter freshets, and could be run up into the
sloughs, where they would be perfectly safe, as there is
very little current in the sloughs even during the highest
freshets. The mouth of the river could be improved by
an outlay of a few thousand dollars so that vessels could
enter and load with lumber during any part of the year.
Not one, but several large mills could be built here, all
having ample facilities for securing logs and shipping
Another project, requiring a capital of $50,000, would
repay a liberal interest on the investment. This project
is, the building of the Crescent City and Waldo wagon
road, from Crescent City to Waldo, Josephine county,
Oregon. This road would secure to Crescent City the
trade of a large section of country, and would be the
means of building up industries heretofore unthought of in
connection with this county. That the road would pay
there can be no doubt. The present road from Crescent
City to Waldo, built in 1857, is practically abandoned, for
170 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
no work has been done upon it for years, and it is now
almost impassible. The builders of the old road selected
the least practicable route that could have been chosen,
and the winter season generally left the road in a dilapi-
dated condition, costing so much to repair that it was
finally abandoned by the owners.
The new road can be built over a good route, passable
nearly the whole year, and which would cost little for
During the last 3'ear the construction of this road has
been much discussed, and many opinions on the subject
have been made public, all favoring the belief that through
the benefits it would confer upon them the people of all
the counties interested would reap a rich harvest. It
would be useless to give the various propositions for the
construction of the road, for they have all, as far as I can
learn, come to naught, and there is no immediate prospect
of the road being built, unless some enterprising capitalist
or capitalists come forward and take the matter in hand.
For the information of tho-e who should feel an interest
in the subject, below will be found the description of the
route of the proposed new road, as surveyed by J. S.
•' Commencing at a point on the old Crescent City
wagon road, 7 and a quarter miles from Waldo, Josephine
county, Oregon, at a post for the initial point, altitude
1820 feet above tide water, aiid run on an undulating
grade (^nearly level^l to the south-west branch of the Illi-
nois Eiver, crossing the same at the present pack ti'ail
bridge, one mile and 23 chains from initial point, thence
running up on a grade of one foot in 16 and one-half feet
to the divide between the waters of Illinois Valley and
Smith's River, reaching the same in five miles and 48
chains from station 0. The altitude of this pass is 3100
feet above tide water. Thence on a down grade of 1 foot
in 16 and one-half feet to Shelley Creek at station 923,
DEL NORTE- -WHAT IT OILERS TO CAPITALISTS. 171
(^stations 50 links apart, or 160 stations to the milej thence
down near the right bank. of said creek on an easy grade
to station 1895, to a low pass about 100 feet above the
creek which we pass through to near Patrick Creek;
thence down on a grade of 1 foot in 16 and one-half feet
or 3 and one half degrees, to the mouth of Shellej' Creek
at station 2492, or nearly 15 and one-half miles from sta-
tion 0, thence crossing Shelley Creek by a bridge, span 50
feet; thence down the left bank of Patrick Creek, on an
easy undulating grade to station 2731, crossing the same
by a bridge of 70 feet span; thence on an up-grade of 3
and one-half deg. to station 2860, and intersects the win-
ter trail one-half a mile west of the Patrick Creek cabin;
thence on a down grade from 1 deg. to 3 and one-half de-
grees to station 3280, or 20 and one-half miles to the right
bank of the middle fork of Smith's Eiver; thence down
the right bank of the same, sometimes along the flat bot-
toms and other times along the base of the steep side-hills
to station 3876, on the 24th mile; here cross the river by
a bridge, the main span of which is 110 feet in length;
thence along the left bank of Smith's River, mostly on the
flats, to Gasquet's, near the 26 mile post; thence down the
Gasquet flat to station 4366, where we begin to ascend the
hill side on a grade of 3 and one half deg. Leaving the
river for several miles to avoid the steep and rocky blufl's
near the river, the route runs in the vicinity of the present
pack trail to the south fork of Smith's Eiver. At 29 miles
we reach the summit of a low divide, and run thence on
along the hill-sides on a grade from deg. to 3 and one-
half degs. to station 5240; thence down on a grade of 3
and one-half deg. to station 5409 to the South Fork of
Smith's River, which is crossed by a bridge, main span of
105 feet about 60 feet above the water; thence along the
left bank of the main river on side-hill grade to station
5750, where we leave Smith's River and ascend by an
easy grade along the right bank of Mill Creek, through
172 HISTORY OF DEL NORTE.
the heavy redwood flats, to station 5999, where we cross
Mill Creek at the site of" the present trail bridge, main
span 86 feet; thence along the redwood flats to station
6336, where we start up the last hill on a grade of 3 and
one half deg. At station 6493 we reach the summit, 500
feet above tide water; thence down on a grade of 3 and
one half deg. to station 6690, at the foot of the hill on the
prairie, about three miles from and east of Crescent City;
thence to 42 miles and 26 chains, intersecting the old road
2 and one half miles from Crescent City.
" The road for nearly the whole length is below the
line of heavy snows, and can be traveled at all seasons of
the year. • The formation is very good for a road bed,
onlv a small portion of which is very rocky, and at all
places material for a good top dressing can be had.
" In my estimates I have provided for planking 5 miles
of redwoofl, which I think will be necessary to make the
road passable in winter, There is no grade on the road
heavier than 3 and one-half deg. or 1 foot in 16 and one-
half, and only a portion as heavy as that. The route is
well watered the whole length and there are flats at con-
venient intervals for camping.
•' The amount of traffic may be estimated by the fact
that the amount of freight annually imported into Jackson
county, Oregon, alone is estimated by the best judges and
by carefully gathered statistics at 2,000 tons, consisting
of general merchandise, wagons, agricultural and mining
machinery, salt, etc.
"Josephine county, Oregon, with about one-half the
population, imports at least 500 tons; Happy Camp, in
Del Norte count}*, about 350 tons; Fort Klamath and
Lake county, Oregon, about 300 tons, making a total of
3150 tons yearly; most of which now comes from San
Francisco to Portland, thence by rail 200 miles to Eose-
burg, thence by wagon 100 miles; making an out of the
way trip of 600 miles, where it should reach in 117 miles
DEL NORTE— WHAT IT OKl'ERS TO CAPITALISTS. 173
via Crescent City. Now we estimate that at least 2,500
tons of this will pass over this road, which at a toll of $6
per ton would bring in $15,000 yearly, to which add tolls
from stages and travel at $2,000 would give a yearly in-
come of $17,000, which would be increased from year to
"The road when built in the manner specified will require
but little attention after the first winter. The above es-
timates have been made for the import trade alone, but
when this road shall have been opened the export trade in
flour, bacon, wool and fine lumber will largely exceed the
This road would be the means of building up a large
trade for Crescent City, and it would be of great benefit
to the whole county. Manufacturing industries would
follow the completion of the road, and a host of new en-
terprises would spring into existence.
Another opportunity for the investment of capital here
is the building of a large woolen mill. Smith's Eiver
Valley would probably be the best place for the estab-
lishment of such an enterprise, as ample water power and
a fine building site could be secured at a low figure. In-
deed, it is likely that the people of the valley would con-
tribute liberally toward the erection of buildings, and
that they would also donate a building site. Plenty of
wool could be procured. There are thousands of sheep
on the hills of Curry county, Oregon, and if the wool
growers could dispose of their wool at home they would
gladly do so. The goods manufactured would find a ready
sale, and the enterprise would undoubtedly prove a paying
A large cheese factory would also be a paying business.
Some difficulty has heretofore been experienced because
of the damp climate, but this could probably be overcome.
All of the opportunities for the investment of capital
mentioned above are worthy of the consideration of all,
174 HISTORY OF DEI. NORTE.
and business men seeking a use for their brains and
money can do no better than to turn in this direction.
What Del Norte needs, more than anything else, is
capital — capital, the magic wand which will unlock the
vaults in which our mineral wealth is sleeping. Capital
is king; and his sceptre in Avaving over Del Norte will
call into bus}' life a hundred bustling industries.
And when the lethargy which now envelopes our inter-
ests and retards our progress shall be a thing of the past;
when all the forests shall resound to the hum and buzz of
the saw-mill; when columns of smoke, rising from the
Low Divide, shall proclaim the existence of smelting fur-
naces and reduction works; when hydraulics shall strip
the hills of their surface, laying bare rich seams of
precious gold; when town and county shall throw off the
rust of idle years, and come forth into the bright, new
existence of a better day; then can we look forward to
hopeful prospects, and can truly say, " the night has
passed, joy cometh with the morn."
DEL NORTE— OFFICEBS
FROM]857 TO 1881. 175
List of Officehs of Del Nobte County fbom 1857 to 1881.
1 1 TREASURER.
R. P. Hirst.
;1869 Wrn. Saville.
1871 Joh-. H. Chaplin.
W. M. Buell.
1873 Johu H. Chaplin.
S. P. Wright.
1>*75 Johu H. Chaplin,
R. P. Hirst.
!l877i Wm, Saville.
L. N. Hursh.
1879' Wm. Saville.
T. H. Ee( tor.
Jas. E. Murphy.
T. H. K-ctur,
1857 Benj. Reynolds.
Jrts. E. Murphy.
1859 Benj. R yuolds.
Jas. E. Murphy.
1861 Ber.j. Reynolds.
Jas, E. Murphy.
1863 P. H. Peveler,
L. F. Coper.
:1865P. H. Pev-ler.
W. B. Mason
lK67iP. H. PeveW.
1869 P. H. Peveler.
P. H. Pev.ler.
F. E. Wfcslon.
1873 P. H. Peveler.
11875 P. H. Peveler.
P. H. P-veler.
P. H, Peveler,
"\V. A. Hamilton.
VV. A. 'Hamilton.
N. Tack, Sr.
Henry Orman, Jr.
Jas. E. Murphy,
Henry Orman, Jr.
Henry Orman, Jr.
R. S. McLellan.
Johu P. Haynes.
J. L. Rigg.
S. P. Wright.
S. P. Wright,
R. E. Adams.
R. S, McLellan.
R E. Adams.
Jas. E. Murphy.
W. A. Hamilton.
Chas, E. Hughes.
Jas. E. Murphy.
G. W. Russell,
T- B. Thorp.
E. Y, Naylor.
E, Y, Naylor,
J. K, J'hnson.
J. K. Johnson.
W, H, Woodbury,
J. E. Warren.
W. H. Woodbury.
W. H. "Woodbury.
W. H. Woodbury.
The names of all other Officers ha-'
i-e been omitted for want of space.
f m 1 m^iLiffi'i iimm
SHOWING THE DISTANCES
Klamath River, via Triuidad Trail... 21
Happy Cftmp, via Gasquei's and Waldo, Oregon, 82
Camp Lincoln 6
Fort Dick 8
Paecock's F«rry, <•" Smith's River 8
Ford's Ftrry, on Smilh'^ River, 11
Kirkhani's Feriy, on Smith's River, ^^%
^el Norte, Smith's River Valley, via Camp Lincoln 15
Del Norte, Smith's River Vall^-y, via Tryon's Dairy, 14
Del Norte. Smith's River V«lley. via Fort Dick, 15
Smith's River Cannery, (Mouth of Smith's River,) via Del
A.ltaville. (iu 'he vicinity o; Copper, Chrome, Iron and other
mines,) via Elk Valley 18
Altaville, via Del Nortp, 22
San Francisco '. 280
Trinidad, by lani 65
Eureka, by laud, 90
Eureka, by water, 51
Rogue River, by land , 60
Roguo Rivnr, by watrr, 42
Port Orford, by w»ter 62
Cape BImdco, by wa'er, „ 73
Coos B^s (Empire C'tv,) by water, Ill
Legal Distance from Crescent City, the County Seat
OF Del Norte County,
Napa ~ 319
San Quentin 292
•V "S Tl Nl 3avw
• • •